Sam Martin reminisces on five-year career with the Bearcats

Sam Martin was born and raised in Cincinnati before spending the last five seasons as a walk-on with the Bearcats prior to graduating with a major in finance on April 30. In addition to being on the Bearcats Academic Honor Roll multiple times, Martin was named the president of the student athlete advisory committee.

“Growing up in Cincinnati, it was a dream come true to play for the Bearcats. I loved the opportunity to be able to represent the city and university,” Martin told me following graduation last month. “I’m planning to stay in town and will still be around the program going forward.”

The Cincinnati native committed to the Bearcats on April 18, 2017.

Sam Martin reminisces on five-year career with the Bearcats

Mick Cronin was head coach at the time with a talented roster including Gary Clark, Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and others. Martin played in a combined 16 games during his freshman and sophomore season as the Bearcats won back to back AAC Tournament championships in 2018 and 2019.

“It was special being a part of two straight American championship teams early in my career,” he explained in a recent interview. “After my senior year, I wasn’t sure about returning for a fifth season but when talking to some of my teammates and coaches, I figured why not take advantage of the extra year.”

Due to the pandemic, Martin was entitled to an extra year of eligibility and he decided to return for a graduate season in 2022. The 5’10 point guard appeared in nine games a year ago, picking up two points and one steal in a 79-45 win over Presbyterian in November, and starting the final home game for a second consecutive year.

“It meant a lot to start on Senior Day,” Martin said.

He also discussed playing for three different head coaches: “It was challenging because each coach has a different approach and style. I feel confident that coach Miller has the program headed in the right direction. I think it’s realistic to reach the tournament next year. We have a lot of talented players coming back that will continue to grow together.”

Martin was a standout at Summit Country Day High School before his five-year career with the Bearcats. He averaged 15.4 points and 3.0 rebounds as a senior, helping the Silver Knights go 26-1 and reach the regional championship, en route to being named the Miami Valley Conference Player of the Year.