The son of Kenyon Martin, former Cincinnati Bearcats star forward, Kenyon Martin Junior, also known as KJ Martin, has been selected in the second round, the 52nd overall by the NBA Houston Rockets.
As first reported by Sham Charania of the Athletic, the 19-year old will be signing a contract with the Houston Rockets for four years, and Martin’s first year with the Rockets has been fully guaranteed, according to the report. The Rockets came into the draft without any selections but made the decision to buy one from the Los Angeles Lakers and took Martin.
Martin’s father, Kenyon Martin Sr, in the 2000 NBA Draft, was the very first overall selection. Martin Sr. played in the National Basketball League from the year of his first signing to 2011, then again from 2012 to 2015. Kenyon Martin Sr. played 15 seasons and had his No.4 jersey retired, and was one of just three numbers retired in Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball history.
A Pull Back from the Vanderbilt Commodores
Kenyon Martin Jr. had earlier committed to play for the Vanderbilt Commodores but did not follow through. He was reported to have had second thoughts after five-star recruit R.J Hampton announced on ESPN that he was signing with New Zealand Breakers of Australia’s National Basketball League instead of playing in college. Martin made his decision and decided to spend a post-graduate year at IMG Academy, opening up the opportunity for him to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.
Standing 6 foot 7, with a built 215-pound frame, Martin showed a lot of potential and development in different events attended by NBA scouts.
The IMG Academy Golden Boy
A man among boys at the IMG Academy, Martin was a force to reckon with on both ends of the courts this season, showing commendable growth as a shooter, passer, and ball handler in space, and leading IMG to a 29-3 record in 2019-20. He won two CIF Open Division state championships in California during his high school career.
The 19-year-old averaged 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 30 minutes per game. Kenyon Martin Jr. made a commendable 69.1 percent (221 of 319) of his field goals and 67.2 percent (92 of 137) of his free throws. He led IMG prep school to the number 2 seed in the 14-team National Prep Championship, a competition featuring the country’s elite post-graduate programs.
Kenyon Martin, in an interview last week, said he was happy to have the Houston Rockets opting to buy a draft pick to select him. As the Rockets seem to be looking to trade James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Martin’s prospects are looking extremely good for next season.
Martin might be lacking in length, but he plays bigger than his listed height. He has great physical attributes, and he uses them well. He is very quick getting off the floor and had posted a 38.5-inch max vertical jump at the combine. Martin is viewed as one of the most athletic prospects in the drafts this year, and it is not much of a surprise that he has been signed.