Phil Martin turns back clock

July 1st, 2014
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Phil Martin and daughter Gioia

Phil Martin and daughter Gioia

Phil Martin is going retro in Manoa.

The 34-year-old former Hawaii Rainbow Warrior is now a family man living on Oahu and has put a professional basketball career in Italy behind him. However, that doesn't mean he's done with hoops entirely.

Martin, now of the local fitness industry, is playing as a reserve big man for Clark Hatch Fitness — which he helps sponsor — in the College Summer League in Manoa. He had a few nice plays off the bench Tuesday in CHF's 107-90 blowout win over Solar Universe.

"I'm just here to help out the guys, get everyone a breather here and there, get Scott (Kato) a breather," Martin said. "Get some quality minutes in. I'm not here to change the game. ... It's been a while and it's nice to come back and see the guys again, because it's like family. We've kind of grown up together and played on the courts together. ... It's fun just to be here."

Martin holds the UH record for games played (127), of which he started all but five. He finished his UH career in 2003-04 with 1,231 points, good for eighth in program history. The native of Ontario, Canada, is the only 'Bow to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 100 steals in a career (Christian Standhardinger came close, but he was 13 steals shy in his two-year UH career).

But most impressive on his resume, Martin was part of the last two UH teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament (2000-01 and 2001-02) and the last two UH teams to make the NIT (2002-03 and 2003-04).

You can tell it's still him, though he's bulked up considerably from his UH days.

"Physically, I'm not going to lie, I feel tired," said the player once known as UH's "Iron Man." "But it's been two years since I've been in anything organized, so I can work out as much as I want and do other activities but it's the mechanics of the game and being on the floor that gets you ready and in shape. So I think game by game here, going into playoffs and stuff, stamina, endurance will come back. Like riding a bike. I just want to have my agility. That's been a lot of what my game has been."

Martin said he hasn't been fully in tune with the current happenings with UH basketball ("I think they got a nice thing going on. I'm looking forward to next season, and I wish them a lot of success, but I haven't really delved into it") but he does keep in touch with his early 2000s contemporaries like Predrag Savovic, Carl English and Mindaugas Burneika.

"Every now and then we have the opportunity to get together here in Hawaii," Martin said. "Some guys are passing through. Carl English is playing ball in Spain and stuff, Kube (Michael Kuebler) and the other guys. We do stay in touch. We'll have a gathering, get together at someone's house and just go over the old times. ... It's the glory days. People ask, I'm not ashamed. It's in the past. I'm not boasting or bragging at all, but it was a special, special time, so when I talk about it that's what I try to convey to people. The fans and everybody was just so excellent, and that's why it's so great to stay here. I'm happy to be here, all the support and everything, the recognition. It's unbelievable to see that everybody does remember that time."

In Clark Hatch's win, explosive Kaunaoa McGee led the way with 29 points while steady Leon Ballard added 28 to help their team improve to 1-1.

Washington State/'Iolani alum Derrick Low scored a team-high 22 points in the loss for Solar Universe, which was missing some key personnel. UH redshirt sophomore Dyrbe Enos had 15 points and a sweet off-the-glass alley-oop for a fastbreak dunk by Kona Makaula.

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In the second game of the night Tuesday, defending champion Wealth Strategy Partners managed to improve to 2-0 for the early league lead — but it wasn't easy. Forward Joe Buck (24 points) sank the second of two free throws with 2.8 seconds on the clock in overtime to give WSP a 100-99 win over National Fire Protection.

Wealth Strategy has been without its best player, Julian Sensley, for its first two games. (Sensley apparently had some kind of knee procedure Tuesday for a previous injury, and it's unclear when he will be back.) But UH alum Miah Ostrowski is distributing the ball well and scorers like Buck and Chaminade's Waly Coulibaly are stepping up.

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Action resumes on Thursday, in the older of the two Manoa District Park gyms from what I understand. Chosen Few, the only team yet to play, will see its first action at 6 p.m. against Grantco Pacific. UH newcomer Zach Buscher out of 'Iolani is on the Chosen roster, along with veteran Bill Amis.

11 Responses to “Phil Martin turns back clock”

  1. jalansky:

    The interview with Phil Martin made me think of Riley Wallace's wonderful book, The Rainbow Circle of Excellence, which captures the "special, special" time that Phil talks about. The lessons that Coach Wallace describes in the book apply to more than basketball and, IMHO, it was because of this "deeper" philosophy that Riley succeeded in the way that he did. It was good to be able to reminisce in this way. Thank you.


  2. poorboy:

    That Riley Wallace team with Savo, English , Martin, Burneika, Puida, Kuebler, NCAA and NIT bids, one of the best times in UH MBB, great, great young men, who still have aloha for UH and Hawaii! Hope that Gib and this era team will match that excellence and hard work that Riley's team's displayed. Circle of Excellence.. probably those teams, and the AC teams, really special, special people, AC giving back big time with donations, Phil and others with their time , investment and love. Phil we all love you with aloha and mahalo too!


  3. poorboy:

    Brian:

    Thank you always for your replies and help. Know that you are busy. I looked at latest Manoa College League roster, saw Brocke Stepteau and Tyler Harville on Grantco Pacific team. Scary part, NO sighting of Roderick Bobbitt's name on any team , unless my eyes are going bad, or League still trying to find him spot.

    I hope not ...however....Is Bobbitt coming to Hawaii this summer...? I hope so, and especially if he has to stay in mainland, that he makes it into fall UH semester full eligible, like Sammis is working, on....hope you can find out...kind of makes you wonder, UH MBB fans, it would be a semi blow, if Bobbitt could not be here in the next week, or ..well we don't want to go there!

    Mahalo Brian, thanks in Advance...or maybe if it is a breaking Bobbitt story, you will have on your SA special, or Court Sense reply!


  4. Brian McInnis:

    Bobbitt will be here over the weekend, but he's still recovering from the broken arm he suffered late last season at Indian Hills. He won't be participating in the summer league, sadly, though you may see him out there watching some of the games.


  5. islandman:

    Appears Tyler probably going to St Mary's from reading another site. A reason is that Gib has not paid any attention to him recently, apparently.


  6. poorboy:

    Brian:

    Crazy speculation on two forums, Tyler Harville, is not being approached by UH MBB staff. He, says, they don't say, is he or is he not a preferred walkon according officially to UH and HC? Since he was a Coach Fisher find. I know that, Fish, as of now, did not take Jake to Ohlone JC, and interview on video with Harville, he says he is enrolled and ready to start UH second summer session and be part of UH MBB for four years.
    Is it just another, crazy, wild rumor, or truth, that Tyler is not officially being contacted by UH MBB program. I thought that is why he came, although he worked out at St Mary's and supposedly they offered him walkon spot too ..Could you confirm, is Tyler Harville a committed preferred walkon, if UH MBB will comment, if not,...well...we just wait and see. it must be sloooow, news UH MMB time!

    Thanks Brian.


  7. islandman:

    Who is the #11, Brock Stepteau shown in the Grantco Pacific roster pictures and who played on July 3 ? Another Brocke Stepteau said on twitter that he was leaving for Hawaii on July 4.


  8. Brian McInnis:

    Brocke Stepteau has not played in the summer league yet. Whoever had his jersey number on Thursday was someone else.


  9. Brian McInnis:

    Wait and see on Harville. He's here, so that is advantage UH.


  10. poorboy:

    Brian: Yes it was confirmed, that photo number 11, that is former Iolani all State BB athlete Ikaika Phillips. Must be hard to run a site, all the logistics, those guys do great job, their video hilites of games are up and running really fast turnaround!

    Thanks again, even on holiday, you reply to are sometimes, offbeat questions, Mahalo Brian.
    Yes, I think Tyler and family had great time the 4th of July week and vacation, beautiful weather, post card pefect, great for the mall, shopping , site seeing and beaches!
    I would like to see the real Brocke Stepteau and Tyler Harville do some shooting when Christian passes the ball to them, I am sure, if he knows they can hit the shots, ala Nevels, he will..more balance than having Christian go for 40 points every nite. more like 3 or 4 guys have 18-24 pts, or 8 guys in double figures. Christian, can work on his passing game, he will, he loves to compete!


  11. islandman:

    There's the rule where a coach can work with an incoming player for 2 hours a day, up to 8 hours a week, once a player enrolls in summer school.

    What is the rule on phone calls, if the player is not yet enrolled ? Unlimited ?