Guard Martin moves to champs Newcastle
ANTHONY MARTIN has joined Marjon Plymouth Raiders' fiercest rivals, BBL champions Newcastle Eagles.
The 32-year-old point-guard was deemed surplus to requirements at the Pavilions this summer.
However, Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy has swooped to recruit an experienced back-up to Newcastle's starting point-guard this season Damon Huffman.
Martin, famous for his explosive pace, has averaged 4.8 assists per game in 135 league appearances in five seasons in the BBL for Raiders.
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Flournoy said: "Anthony will potentially be the quickest player in the league.
"We were impressed with the way he played last year and feel that the change of pace he offers will be a great benefit to us."
An excited Martin said: "Everything is going great. I have had a really good summer.
"I had a few teams interested in me. I had to turn a few down and go where I felt I had the best chance to win."
Martin averaged 4.2 points and a team-high 3.7 assists in 16 minutes per game off Raiders' bench last season.
He backed-up starter Jeremy Bell and helped Raiders reach the finals of both the BBL Cup and Trophy, which they lost to Eagles, who completed a clean sweep of all four BBL titles.
Martin essentially was a victim of Raiders' decision to trim the BBL roster from nine players last season to seven this. Raiders coach Gavin Love simply did not have room for a pure back-up point-guard. Versatility had to be key in a shortened line-up.
Martin, whose rookie season was eight years ago back in 2004/05, has been around the block enough to know that and harbours no ill feeling towards Love or Raiders.
Martin said: "The club were doing what they felt was best for the team. Only time will tell if that decision is a good or a bad one.
"I've got a lot of good friends in Plymouth, so I will always come back to visit when I can. I don't feel any animosity towards Gavin or the club. I've had some great times in Plymouth."
Martin added: "Being sad is definitely not me. I am always in good spirits.
"Basically, it is what it is. I can't take it personally with what Raiders are trying to do."
Martin was Raiders' starting point-guard when the club finished a best-ever third in the BBL in 2007/08.
He was born and lived in Leeds, West Yorkshire until he was five, before moving with his mother, Evette, to New York, the United States where he today lives.
Martin sat out the 2006/07 BBL season to help nurse his mother through breast cancer.
Martin memorably led a breathtaking Raiders rally in front of the Sky Sports cameras at the Pavilions this January.
He thrilled a full house with a game-high 14 assists as Raiders recovered from a 21-point deficit against Glasgow Rocks to win in a sensational turnaround.
Flournoy said: "Anthony is very adept at getting scorers the ball in positions where they can be effective. He has also become far more of a scoring threat in recent years."