Who is Caleb Martin, the Heat’s unlikely hero in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals?
If the average NBA fan didn’t know who Miami Heat guard Caleb Martin was before Monday’s Eastern Conference final Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, they certainly know now. Especially Celtics fans.
Martin made his second start in the series, played 45 minutes and scored 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting, while also grabbing 10 rebounds as the Heat avoided a monumental collapse and beat the Celtics 103-84 to advance to the NBA Finals where they will take on the Denver Nuggets starting Thursday night.
Where did Caleb Martin go to college?
Martin, a Mocksville, North Carolina native, who also attended Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, started his collegiate career at North Carolina State in 2014 playing two seasons there before transferring to Nevada.
After sitting out the 2016-17 season because of NCAA transfer rules, Martin blossomed during his first season with the Wolf Pack, averaging 18.9 points and 5.4 rebounds on his way to being named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. During his senior season, he upped that average to 19.2 points a game.
When did Caleb Martin get drafted?
Martin actually went undrafted in 2019, although his twin brother Cody, with whom he played alongside in college, ended up being selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the second round. Caleb Martin then signed a contract with the Hornets as an undrafted free agent, but he was released before the 2021 season.
How did Caleb Martin catching on with the Heat?
Martin signed a two-way contract with Miami in September 2021, playing with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Heat. He played 60 games with the Heat, averaging 9.2 points as a key contributor off the bench, and parlayed that into a three-year, $20 million deal.
This past season, Martin set career highs in points, rebounds, assists, and minutes played while starting 49 games.
How is Caleb Martin connected to rapper J-Cole?
After Martin was cut by the Hornets, he found himself working out at a gym owned by Grammy Award-winning rap artist and North Carolina native J. Cole.
J.Cole reached out to former NBA player and Heat assistant coach Caron Butler. Butler told The Charlotte Observer that the Heat were always looking to upgrade talent on the roster.
“He had reached out to me and told me he had a very, very talented guy that was just wrecking shop up here in North Carolina,” Butler said to The Charlotte Observer.
“(J. Cole) reached out to me and I just invited (Martin) to an open scrimmage in the summer, and from that point on he really earned his way on. But J. Cole having the foresight in knowing Caleb can come and help a contending team was just amazing.”