It took a “perfect storm” to wash Scott Martin up on Tyneside but the star signing of the Newcastle Eagles’ recruitment drive is looking forward to the fast learning process he has started since leaving college.
Twenty-four-year-old Martin was captain of Notre Dame until a second serious knee injury ended his American career.
Rather than give up the game completely, he opted to learn a different brand of basketball under the guidance of Eagles’ player-coach Fabulous Flournoy.
“It was tough but fortunately it was kind of a slow process,” Martin says of his Stateside retirement.
“It started and I thought I could come back and I couldn’t – but you could kind of see the writing on the wall for a little while so I guess I was eased into it.
“Either way it was not easy but I’ve been given another opportunity to keep playing the game I love.
“I had to sit down and think about (moving to Europe) for a while because I wasn’t sure how the knee was going to do post-operation.
“I had the procedure done and I felt better every day so I thought, ‘let’s give it one more shot’.
“I had the big operation two years back so this was nothing compared to that. The recovery time was small in comparison.
“Once I felt good it wasn’t a problem. The Eagles came along at the right time, it was a good deal for me and a place I wanted to come to as well so everything kind of worked. It was a perfect storm.”
When the first call came it was, he admits, a case of Newcastle who?
Martin added: “You get on Google real quick and look things up. I was really impressed with the history of the club and talking to Fab about where they wanted to go.
“I wanted to be a part of it, they wanted to have me, so it worked out.
“It’s fun, there’s a lot going on and a lot of energy.
“It’s been a little different to what I’m used to but I’m enjoying it.”
It is not just the Eagles’ past which impressed Martin.
He said: “It’s very well run. Everything is nice and organised and it’s all about winning. That’s the most important thing and why I’m here.
“It helps the transition it is not a last-minute rush around. It’s definitely helped to make thing a lot more comfortable.”
What can come as a culture shock is Flournoy’s coaching methods.
Martin added: “The player-coach aspect is different to anything I’ve had before but I’m enjoying it and I’m learning. It is all positive.
“It’s a different philosophy defensively. I’m still getting used to it but I’m making adjustments and I’ll get there.
“It’s good stuff, don’t get me wrong, just a little different to what I’m used to.”
The roads remain a big challenge – “It still kind of scares me sometimes when I’m turning” – but next on Martin’s horizon is the British Basketball League.
Newcastle start at home to Durham Wildcats on Friday and Martin said: “When we get into the BBL it’s going to be tough.
“Guys are going to know each other’s scouting reports and the games matter, every session matters. I’m sure the intensity will go up a notch.
“It’s a little different. There’s a lot more possession and it’s a quicker game. With the 24-second shot clock instead of the 35 I’m used to it seems like a year now.
“As for the competition, from what I’ve seen I’m excited for the season.”
With his pedigree, much will be expected of Martin. He said: “I would hope so. That’s why I’m here, to produce and help us win.