The votes have been counted and we now know who the final two players competing for Down the Drive’s All-Time Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Basketball Player Tournament title will be. Yesterday we revealed that Oscar Robertson had beaten out Nick Van Exel for the first seat at the championship table. Joining him there will be Kenyon Martin, who defeated Sean Kilpatrick with 81.1 percent of the vote in the Final Four.
In a duel of the best player of the Bob Huggins era and the best of the Mick Cronin era, Martin won out and will now face off with the greatest player in program history. It is now up to you, the fans and readers, to decide if Robertson or Martin is the favorite player in team history.
Before we get to voting, here are 10 things to know about Martin before you cast your ballot.
- Before Martin, only two players had ever had their number retired by UC. Martin became the third, as his No. 4 joined Robertson’s No. 12 and Jack Twyman’s No. 27 as the most hallowed numbers in program history.
- In 2000, Martin was an consensus All-American and national player of the year during a season when he averaged 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game.
- It’s interesting that Martin is facing Robertson in this final round since they are the only two Bearcats to ever be selected No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft.
- Martin’s senior year was obviously his best, but sometimes its forgotten just how big a leap he made. As a junior, he had a fine season (10.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game), but that obviously paled in comparison to his senior year. In essence, he was Octavius Ellis as a junior and then morphed into the K-Mart we all know as a senior.
- Surprisingly, even though he set a career-high in blocks in 2000 and was named national player of the year, he was not awarded Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. He did win it in 1998 and 1999 however.
- Because he did not really perfect his scoring game until his senior season, Martin is only 25th in all-time scoring at UC. That still puts him ahead of legends like Jim Ard, Eric Hicks and LaZelle Durden.
- In his freshman season, Martin recorded the first triple-double by a Bearcat in 31 years, tallying 24 points, 23 rebounds and 10 blocks.
- Martin produced another one as a senior against Memphis. He is the only player other than Robertson to register more than one triple double in his collegiate career.
- Martin blocked 10 shots in a game twice, has three of the seven highest single season totals in rejections and is the program’s record holder for blocked shots in a career (292).
- Martin also holds the record for best career field goal percentage at UC, making 58.6 percent of his shot attempts.
So now that you’ve got a glut of information to go on, its time to let your vote be heard. A winner will stand alone next Friday.