There was about 35 seconds left in their game against La Salle University, and the University of Rhode Island men’s basketball team was up 12 when sophomore Hassan Martin picked up his first personal foul.
His first foul, after blocking 10 shots.
Martin set a new University of Rhode Island men’s basketball single-game record in blocked shots, en route to a 12-point win against La Salle University.
Martin’s impressive night didn’t surprise Head Coach Dan Hurley who briefly said, “Obviously [Martin] has great timing and he’s a great competitor. Â I’m used to what he did.”
At Curtis High School in Staten Island, N.Y., Martin was awarded the 2013 Warren Jaques Award, which annually names Staten Island’s most outstanding basketball player. Â But he didn’t make ESPN or Yahoo! Sports top 100 recruit lists. Â In fact, he was considered just a three-star recruit.
A lot has changed since the 19-year-old committed to Rhode Island a day apart from the team’s leading scorer E.C. Matthews.
Since coming to Rhode Island, Martin has helped rejuvenate the team, especially the defense. Â The same way Matthews carries the Rams offensively Martin does on the other end.
Now Rhode Island’s defense stands second to nobody in the conference. Â They lead the Atlantic 10 in points allowed per game by opposing teams this season, blocks and defensive rebounds and are second in steals.
Rhode Island has held opponents to under 50 points five times this season, and 60 or fewer points 13 times. Â They have allowed just five players all season to score 20 or more points.
This past Saturday, Martin recorded his fifth double-double of the season, each of them coming in conference play, in a win against George Washington University. Â Martin had three blocked shots that game, along with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
He is one of two players in the country to average at least 11.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks a game.
Last year Martin led the conference with 2.5 blocks a game as a freshman, and set the new University of Rhode Island freshman record. Â Since then he has improved in major statistical categories including: points, rebounds, blocks, free throw shooting, field goal percentage and minutes played.
In the nine Rhode Island conference games this season, he’s averaging a staggering 4.7 blocks a game.
When asked about his technique after his record-breaking night against La Salle, Martin replied, “I think its timing and awareness. Â I just love having my teammates back.”
Now, if Martin stays all four years, he’s on pace to score over 1,000 points in his career and block about 345 shots, which would make him second all-time in the Atlantic 10 (since 1997-98, via sports-reference).