THUNDERSTRUCK

Former Catamount joins Oklahoma City’s NBA team

Former Catamount basketball standout Kevin Martin is now a member of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder after a multiplayer trade with the Houston Rockets in late October, just days before the beginning of the regular season. The Thunder acquired Martin, fellow guard Jeremy Lamb, two first-round draft picks and a second-round draft pick in exchange for Houston’s James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.

Photo by Richard A. Rowe / Oklahoma City Thunder

In his ninth season as a professional, the 6-foot-7 Martin has been one of the most effective scorers in the league, first with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and later with the Rockets. He has averaged 18.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for his career, and is one of only two active NBA players, along with Dwight Howard, to average at least 18 career points per game on 13 or fewer field goal attempts per game.

“(Martin) is one of the most efficient offensive players in the NBA over the last several years,” said Sam Presti, general manager of the Thunder. “He’s a guy that draws fouls at an incredibly high rate. He is a guy that has a great feel for the game, understands how to score and knows the league. Our coaching staff has some history with him and knows him intimately. They were confident and excited about having him.”

Oklahoma City advanced to the NBA championship series last season, falling in five games to the Miami Heat. “I’m coming to an organization and a team that is building a great tradition with a great supporting cast and community,” Martin said in a story on the Thunder’s website. “I just think they have the right makings for any player to want to come play for them.”

After arriving in Cullowhee from Zanesville, Ohio, Martin needed only three seasons to rack up 1,838 career points – and to catch the eyes of NBA scouts. Following his junior season, Martin was drafted by the Sacramento Kings as the 26th selection in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft, becoming the first Catamount ever selected in the first round of any professional draft.