Can Kelan Martin become a consistently elite scorer?
Butler’s early NCAA tournament exit this March– a second round overtime loss to Notre Dame– stung immensely. That being said, the defeat has catalyzed quite an offseason for the Bulldogs. Verbal commitments have already been made by four stellar 2016 recruits, which gives reason to believe that Butler will be a national competitor for many years to come. While the 2016-17 season looks especially promising, make no mistake in not having high expectations for this upcoming year. The defensive prowess that featured seniors Kameron Woods and Alex Barlow may not be as dominant as last year, but what was lost will be greatly compensated with an improved offense.
North Carolina State transfer guard Tyler Lewis will join seniors Kellen Dunham and Roosevelt Jones in a backcourt that should once again propel the Bulldogs to the top of the Big East. Their starting lineup will also likely feature returning forwards Andrew Chrabascz and Tyler Wideman. Though he’s not expected to begin the season in the starting rotation, sophomore forward Kelan Martin could be the X-factor of the Bulldog’s offense.
At 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, Martin has both the body and skill set to develop into a prolific scorer. He averaged 7.1 ppg last season in just 14.6 mpg. His effectiveness was sporadic, but he often displayed the ability to take control of a game. At the Maui Invitational tournament, he erupted for 17 points in 17 minutes against #5 UNC. Though he certainly has a chance to be Butler’s most assertive scorer this season, 2nd year coach Chris Holtmann tends to heavily rely on his starters, so Martin will really need to elevate his play if he wants to earn more minutes. If he can reach his high potential early in the season, look for Kelan Martin to be one of the more dangerous offensive forwards in the Big East, and eventually the nation.
Keenan Casey ’19