Landan Martin’s fondest basketball memories have each come within the last few years.
His first unforgettable experience on the hardwood took place when he was an eighth-grader at Georgetowne Middle School in the suburbs of Peoria. Martin was a member of his school’s basketball team, and he helped the team advance to the regional championship round before he and his teammates suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final seconds.
Martin grew up in Peoria, playing his freshman basketball season at Peoria High School before moving to Rochelle his sophomore year. The talented point guard quickly entered the fold with the Hubs, helping Rochelle’s sophomore basketball team to a 21-5 record this past season.
His play also allowed Rochelle to take home the championship at the Plano Christmas Classic, an achievement Martin also remembers vividly.
“I initially didn’t want to move up here because I wanted to finish playing basketball at my old school,” Martin said. “I like Rochelle a lot… The Rochelle program likes to play a lot faster and we have more of a run-and-gun style of offense. We press on defense nearly every possession. I like the way we play.”
Martin took over Rochelle’s starting point guard duties on the varsity team this season, filling the void vacated by three-year started Angel Aguirre. There have been some early growing pains for the junior guard and his first-year varsity teammates, but the Hubs are off to a decent start, going 3-3 over their first six games this winter.
“I think we’ve started the season pretty well,” Martin said. “Dundee-Crown won a regional last year and I think we played well against them. I think we did well in the Sycamore [Strombom] tournament and beating Genoa-Kingston on Tuesday was even better… I’ve been frustrated at times because I scored a lot of points last year and I haven’t been scoring much, but I think the adjustment has gone pretty well.”
Martin’s brother Kaiden helped introduce him to basketball when he was in sixth grade. Martin played baseball since he was in first grade, but as he grew older, his appreciation for basketball grew as well. He’s now solely a basketball player, and while he said he misses baseball sometimes, he’s looking forward to improving his skills over the next two seasons at Rochelle.
“I feel that some of my strengths include handling the ball and pressuring the ball,” Martin said. “I’m going to work on eliminating turnovers and not getting as frustrated with my teammates… I was normally a baseball player but I wanted to try something new. My older brother helped me a lot when I was younger, and I love watching LeBron James play and watching the way he leads his team.”