When the Big South decreed that two of their postponed games would be made up during a week that they already had a pair scheduled, some Winthrop
fans believed the fix was in. Some thought that the move to bestow a four-game, six-day strech on the Eagles was made solely to sabotage their season - they had, after all, been running away with the conference with dominating play and a long string of wins. Maybe, just maybe, the BSC were taking a page from the Tour de France organizers' manual (each year, they try to stack the deck against Lance Armstrong by putting all the worst mountain stages in a row) and trying to achieve a little quickie parity by tiring them out. But any and all conspiracy theories melted away when a tall, athletic guard with soft hands stepped up, and led Winthrop to a convincing and resounding sweep of the killer four-game stretch. Torrell Martin is our fourteenth Mid-Majority Baller Of The Week.
Martin is a six-five sophomore shooting guard - very tall for a Big South backcourter. But his size gives him the ability to play three positions, and his quick-flicking wrists give him the ability to score from anywhere. Most of his MMBOW numbers have been aired here already, but they bear repeating. In the Winthrop Gauntlet's first game, a Monday homer against North Carolina-Asheville
, Torrell had 19 points whilst shooting field goals at a 7-for-10 rate, then followed it up with 21 on 7-for-10 at High Point
on Tuesday. (These are the types of seven-ten split you want
to get.) In a victory over second-place Liberty
on Thursday, he had 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He took a little break in the sweep-completing Saturday's 55-41 home victory over Birmingham Southern
- he started, but went 2-for-7 from the field in a short 21 minutes.
But that did nothing to tarnish what was a monstrous, and very MMBOW-worthy, six-day stretch. He's now the team's leading scorer (13.4 ppg), and is shooting 50% from the floor (103-for-204) on the year. One hundred and fourteen of those shots have been from beyond the arc, and he's hit on a remarkable 44% of those.
Perhaps most remarkable about Torrell's streak of late is that he's been battling bad knees for his entire career, which trace back to an injury he suffered in a non-conference game against Western Michigan
during his freshman year. He missed nine games, underwent surgery after that 2003-04 season, and spent spring term hobbling around the Rock Hill campus with crutches. It's still bothering him to this day, and he's missed time this season as well. History is filled with stories of brilliant talents cut down in their prime, of dangerous warriors who had to leave the battlefield because their artillery couldn't be transported with bad wheels. But here's hoping that Martin doesn't become just another tragic case - in a world where most kids can't shoot the rock to save their lives, we need ballers like Torrell more than ever.
Torrell attended Airport High School in his hometown of Columbia, S.C. This reporter has never been to that town, but I'm going to assume that AHS is somewhere in the vicinity of the airport, and that kids there practice by hitting shots on hoops attached to airborne 727's. For someone with an awesome shooting touch like Torrell's, you've gotta make it just at a little bit