|Starter Scott Martin will make Notre Dame a factor once again in the Big East. (AP)|
Late Friday night the school sent out a release that said the NCAA granted sixth-year forward Scott Martin a final year of eligibility. The decision, in my mind, undeniably makes Notre Dame a preseason top 25 team. (So make the change at some point, guys.)
Martin's case took longer because it came with some unusual circumstances. The former Purdue player transfered to be closer to family due to some health issues (his father had eye cancer), and pairing that with the injuries of his past (he missed the 2008-09 season with a left ACL injury) created a case that wasn't like many of the sixth-year scenarios.
Some doubted he'd get the year. Notre Dame was optimistic and hopeful, especially with the Abromaitis verdict coming down first. They believed right. Martin put up 9.5 points and 5.7 boards per game last year, contributing even more in the wake of Abromaitis' final year, which was cut short due to injury.
"Big W!" Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey texted me after the news came down late Friday night. He added this in a school statement: "We're thrilled in the NCAA's decision to grant Scott a sixth year of eligibility. Scott was our 'glue guy' this past season with our young team. He helped drive us with his experience and leadership."
With Martin starting every game for ND last year, the Irish finished 13-5 in the league and 22-12 overall. It lost as a seven seed in the Round of 64 to Xavier.