Shaelyn Martin a ‘rebound warrior’ for K-State women’s basketball

Kansas State’s Shaelyn Martin, right, shouts at teammates earlier this season against UCLA in Las Vegas. (Marc Sanchez/The Associated Press)

MANHATTAN — Since the Kansas State women’s last basketball game, Shaelyn Martin has been wearing special gear at practices.

 

With 15 rebounds in the victory over UT Arlington on Dec. 6, Martin earned the designation as K-State’s “Rebound Warrior” and has donned the coveted yellow jersey and shorts in practice.

“When they started it, it was my goal every time to be the person that wears it every time,” Martin said. “Especially over break, when you have stretches between games, I’ve had it for a week and a half now so it’s a pride factor.”

The “Rebound Warrior” was born when coach Jeff Mittie arrived four years ago at the suggestion of associate head coach Brian Ostermann as the staff discussed motivational concepts.

“I think he might have done it with an earlier team of his,” Mittie said. “We met as a staff and somebody said we could put them in a special uniform on practice days until the next game. After each game we do highlights of the ‘Rebound Warrior.’ ”

The Wildcats also have “Rebound Soldiers” for meeting established goals for specific positions.

Martin, a 6-foot-1 senior from Salina, has three double-figure rebound games this season for the Wildcats (6-2), who play Little Rock (3-6) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum. She also had 15 rebounds against Florida A&M, and with 625 ranks No. 16 in school history.

“I always want to get in double digits, but it just depends on the game,” she said. “If somebody else is getting rebounds, I’ll hold off my offensive person to let them get those rebounds. It depends on where you’re at on the court, and if I have somebody I have to keep off the glass I’ll sacrifice rebounds for our team to get it.”

Martin has made herself a good rebounder through physical toughness and mental preparation.

“My first season when I was a freshman, you’re just trying to figure things out,” Martin said. “The past four years I’ve had the opportunity every game to learn from previous games and previous seasons. The coaching staff and our practice players don’t take it easy on me so I definitely have to work to get rebounds.

“It’s almost 100 percent a mindset. I know I’m capable of doing it so it’s a matter of how much I’m willing to fight to get it. You have to have the mindset that every board is mine and that’s where I’ve been the past few games.”

Martin has been steady as a four-year starter, averaging 5.2 rebounds her freshman season, 6.8 as a sophomore, 4.9 as a junior and 9.0 this season.

“It starts with her effort, and what Shae has improved is her timing,” Mittie said. “Some have a nose for the ball — you hear about timing and instincts — and I wouldn’t say Shae has just the instincts, necessarily, but what she has is the toughness, desire, commitment. When she gets stuck on the perimeter you can go to Shae and say, ‘I need you to do this.’ She has the unique ability to go, ‘OK.’ It sounds simple, but players get it clouded in their head of other things they think they should be doing and she has the unique ability to say, ‘OK, coach, I’ll go do that one thing.’

“The other night the rebound totals were bad as a team and I don’t know that Shae’s rebound numbers were great early, but we said, ‘You’ve got to go. You’ve got to be the one that leads us,’ and she ends up with 15.”

Martin averages 6.9 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 steals this season and is best known for her knack of drawing defensive charges — 77 in her career.

Always looking to improve, her current objective is to improve her offensive rebounding where she has 13 among her 72 total boards.

“My defensive rebounds have been there and now my goal is to run down a few more offensive rebounds,” Martin said. “I have to work extra hard to get those rebounds because in our starting lineup I’m probably the smallest person out there trying to get the most rebounds.”


Contact Ken Corbitt at (785) 295-1123 or @KenCorbitt on Twitter.


TopTankTickets
 

More

Olathe West takes control in the second half to drop Topeka West, 68-36

OLATHE — Topeka West led at the end of the first quarter Wednesday night and the Chargers were within four points at... Read more