During her senior year of high school, senior point guard Kaylan Martin was the 24th-ranked point guard in the nation and was listed as the 12th best recruit in the state by ESPNU HoopGurlz.
Martin was named the Austin American-Statesman’s All-Centex Player of the Year after she led the Pflugerville Panthers to a state Final Four appearance. Martin was also named All-State and Academic All-State by the Texas Girls Coaches Association during her senior year and chosen as the District 14-5A MVP during her junior year.
Martin grew up in a big family. She is the daughter of Cassandra Terry and Fonzell Martin and has three sisters and a younger brother. Her sister Cierra Martin is a former guard for UTSA, and her stepsister Bianca Sauls currently plays volleyball for UT-Arlington.
“Growing up being the younger sister of two really good athletes, it influenced me to push and be better,” Martin said. “So that way I could beat them and kind of stand out from them and show (them) that I could play too. I think that my driving force was just trying to follow my sisters and be like them.”
When the time came to choose a college, Martin chose the University of Evansville in Indiana.
“I think the main thing was it was something different,” Martin said. “Coming out of high school, I really wanted a change and the experience. It was something fun and different, and I loved the campus. I thought it was really beautiful.”
During her time at Evansville, Martin started 29 games as a freshman point guard, scoring in double figures five times. She was third among Evansville scorers and finished second on the team with 38 steals, which was the most by an Evansville freshman since the 2004-2005 season.
After her freshman season in Evansville ended, Martin decided to transfer to Texas State.
“What made me come back was dealing with injuries and being so far away from my family,” Martin said. “It was hard to deal with on my own, so I think that was kind of a learning experience. I think that’s what drew me back.”
Martin’s first season at her new school coincided with the arrival of Coach Zenarae Antoine, whose first year featured one of the biggest turnarounds in Texas State women’s basketball history. In Antoine’s first season, she turned a 9-20 team from the previous year into a 17-14 team. This turnaround led the Bobcats to an appearance in the Southland Conference championship tournament and their first win in the tournament since 2003.
Martin joined the team in her first year of eligibility after the NCAA transfer rules required her to sit out the 2010-2011 season. Martin gives credit to Antoine for her success and her leadership on the court.
“I think the main thing is Coach Z. and her expectations,” Martin said. “She relies on her point guards heavily to run the show, (to execute) her vision and goals on the court and to make sure that happens.”
Martin was not a player who Antoine recruited to Texas State, but they turned out to be two puzzle pieces that fit well together. Martin, a natural-born leader, was put into an up-tempo style of offense where her job was simple—to be a leader.
“She is the type of young player every coach hopes to have on their team, where they are able to operate as a leader both on and off the court,” Antoine said. “She’s extremely focused and determined. It takes a lot to bounce her off her path, and when she does hit those bumps, it’s very easy for her to get back on course.”
As for Martin, all that is on her mind is getting better each day, growing more and more as a leader for her team.
“I want us to win,” Martin said. “I want us to have a winning record, go to a conference tournament, and I want to win it. I want to win conference.”