Report: Kenyon Martin Jr. Informs Vanderbilt of Plan to Play Basketball OverseasJune 6, 2019
RJ Hampton helped set the trend, and now Kenyon Martin Jr. is following it.
The son of former NBA player Kenyon Martin told Evan Daniels of 247Sports he will forgo a collegiate career at Vanderbilt to play professional basketball overseas. Martin said he does not yet have a contract with a professional team.
A 6'6" 195-pound power forward, Martin was a 3-star recruit and the No. 229 overall prospect in the 2019 class, per 247Sports. He committed to Vanderbilt on May 5, a month after the school hired former NBA guard Jerry Stackhouse as its head coach.
"My dad knows I have the potential to go pro, so he teaches me the little things, because those are the things that he says make all the difference," Martin said, per Jason Jordan of USA Today. "It's like a puzzle, and you just put the pieces together."
Like Hampton, Martin is not making the sojourn overseas because of academic issues or financial need. Kenyon Martin Sr. made over $112 million in his career, and Vanderbilt only recruits players in strong academic standing.
Unlike Hampton, Martin is not considered a surefire pro prospect. He's slight for his position and his skill set; he's going to need to develop a more reliable jumper and perimeter game to have any real shot at making the NBA at 6'6". Whereas Martin Sr. (6'9") had a stocky build that made him hard to move in the paint and was a top athlete, his son is more wiry—though he has the frame to fill out more.
Finding playing time for competitive overseas teams may also be difficult. Even Hampton, a more polished and well-regarded player, is going to have a steep adjustment going from playing against high school kids to grown men.
Martin's best move may be to sign in a lower European league for playing time or one in a top-flight league that's near the bottom of the standings. He could also go to China, where his father briefly played during the 2011 NBA lockout.