Former Roughrider Blog From NCAA’s
by: Mychal Martinez
Yavapai Men’s Basketball Forward
At the beginning of the 2009 Summer, playing basketball in the 2009-2010 college basketball season did not seem like a likely possibility. I had my first serious injury (broken right foot) and it could not have come at a worse time in my transition from Junior College to University life; because of my injury I lost my scholarship that I had secured before my injury to a DII university in San Francisco.
As a result of this predicament, I was forced to enroll at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where I would look into possibly walking on to the basketball team. However, at the time I did not think it would be likely.
After four months of rehabilitation on my foot, lots of patience, support from my family, and consistent contact with coaches and secretaries at UNLV, I was asked to come in for a meeting about a month away from the season.
I had no idea what to expect and I had not played basketball in what seemed like an eternity.
The assistant coach that I met with said that they were looking to add one more player to their roster and, to my astonishment, that player was me. It is funny how things work out in life at times and perhaps breaking my foot was a blessing in disguise.
I knew being a walk-on at a DI university was no glory role. However, growing up as a child I loved the UNLV basketball program. I have always had dreams of playing some day, so, I could not have been happier. The 09-10 basketball season was full of new and great experiences that not many people get to experience.
Though I played very few minutes during the season, every second out on the floor was worth the practice and hard work that I have put into basketball my whole life. No one was more proud than my parents and family.
We went 25-9 in a year that was dubbed a “rebuilding year.” We also broke into the Top 25 rankings several times throughout the season and received a bid as a #8 seed in the NCAA tournament in Oklahoma City. The NCAA tournament was unlike anything I had ever been a part of.
It was a surreal feeling being in the tournament. Every basketball player from the time they pick up a basketball has dreams of being a part of the NCAA tournament. I’m fortunate enough to have been able to live out those dreams.
The entire trip I was wide eyed. The media surrounding the event was amazing, cameras were constantly flashing, reporters were looking for stories, and television crews were filming anything that looked interesting. We even had police escorts during the tournament; that just goes to show how big of an event the NCAA tournament really is. Unfortunately we lost in the first round to Northern Iowa University.
Looking back on everything that happened throughout the past year and a half, I never thought I would be at the NCAA tournament, on TV, or signing autographs for kids and fans. It is something that I will be able to cherish and hopefully, when I have a family of my own some day, share with my children.