Martin twins’ brother working for their ex-coach
By Brian Pitts
The Martins are rolling.
Twins Caleb and Cody – you know this already – are members of the Charlotte Hornets, coming off their rookie seasons in the NBA.
And then there’s Raheem Martin, who is three years older than his twin brothers. He recently became a graduate assistant coach at the University of Arkansas.
The twins played for coach Eric Musselman at Nevada. The twins finished their Nevada careers in 2018-19, and then Musselman took the Arkansas job. He’s heading into his second year as the Razorbacks coach. So there’s the connection between Raheem and Musselman.
“You’ve been with Cody and Caleb all the time and listened to the stories they have about Muss and how intense he is and how great he is at what he does,” Raheem said. “It was a no-brainer to take this opportunity.”
Going back nearly a decade, Raheem was a Davie senior in 2010-11 when the twins were freshmen. It was a memorable season for Davie hoops. With Nate Jones averaging 19.4 points, Shannon Dillard 17.5, Cody 9.6, Caleb 9.4 and Raheem 6.8, the War Eagles swept two games from West Forsyth after dropping 45 of the previous 47 meetings. They beat Reagan for the first time after losing the first four meetings. They ended a 16-game losing streak to Mt. Tabor. They finished 19-6 and tied for second in the rugged Central Piedmont Conference, meaning they won the most games in 11 years. By outlasting Smith 75-68 on the road, they celebrated their first playoff win in six years.
Raheem played collegiately at Division-III Greensboro College. As a sophomore, he earned Defensive Player of the Year for the Pride. That was no surprise to Davie fans. Raheem was always an unselfish player who loved doing the little things, loved doing anything to help his team win. As a senior in 2014-15, he averaged 8.1 points, 6 rebounds and 2.1 assists while making 25 starts in 25 games played. When his playing career ended, he ranked third on the Pride’s career list for blocked shots with 85 and ninth in steals with 116.
Then he got into coaching. He coached at Greensboro College for a year. He was a teacher/coach at Carver High for two years, guiding the JV boys and serving as varsity assistant. He returned to the college level as an assistant at Richard Bland College (Virginia) in 2017-18. He was an assistant at Greensboro College in 2019-20 and had every intention of remaining on the Greensboro staff in 2020-21.
“I was going to go back to Greensboro,” he said. “We were going to move to Charlotte because my wife got a job, and then I got a call out of the blue (in June) about a GA spot at Arkansas. That’s not an opportunity that comes up very often.”
It took Raheem about two seconds to tell Musselman he was going to pack up the family and head to Fayetteville, Ar.
“It was quick turnaround,” he said. “We were headed to Arkansas about two and a half weeks later. With a 1-year-old and another on the way, it was a hectic time for about a month or so.”
Raheem is pursuing a Master’s in Adult and Lifelong Learning.
“All of my stuff is online, so I’m basketball 24/7, except for when I have to do school work,” he said. “That part’s not exciting; I thought I was done with school.”
As for the coaching part, he’s having an absolute blast.
“This is week seven (of practice),” he said last week. “We make graphics. I do a decent amount of videos that we put on our Twitter. We do a lot of hands-on stuff, working the guys out in the gym. (Musselman) wants you to coach. He wants you to use this as a way to get your education but also to further your coaching career. It’s not one of those GA spots where you’re basically just a ball boy. You’re a manager in a sense, but he really wants you to take it in. If you have an idea – you really feel strongly about it – he’s all about doing it. He’s all about learning new stuff himself.
“From everything from the facilities to the staff to the players, you can’t beat it. I mean I don’t know if there’s a better program in the country, and that’s a hard thing for me being a big (North) Carolina fan. But that’s the reality of the situation.”
Raheem is extremely close to his brothers. He was their mentor growing up. Caleb and Cody were doing serious work for the Hornets before COVID-19 shuttered all sports. In a 143-138 double overtime loss at Atlanta on March 9, Caleb poured in 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting, nailing 5 of 6 3-pointers. Cody had 11 points, five assists and four rebounds. Two days later, Charlotte beat Miami 109-98. That proved to be the Hornets’ final game for 2019-20; 17 games were cancelled.
“Oh, they were playing great,” Raheem said. “We drove to Atlanta, got to see them play and they both played extremely well. Seeing the coaching staff and the guys on the team have faith in them was awesome. That’s like a dream come true.
“Watching one get drafted (Cody) and the other not was hard. Caleb was just coming off an injury and dealing with his own issues already. For them to play like they did was great. All their hard work was paying off.”
Now the twins are preparing for the 2020-21 season. Of course they are. They’ve always had a relentless work ethic and a drive to win.
“They look really good right now,” Raheem said. “I think they both have put on a little bit of weight, and they’re still trying to stay mobile. They’ve done nothing but be in the gym since they were allowed back in the gym.”