Without Rims, WVU’s Tynice Martin Making Do While Awaiting WNBA Draft
It’s every hooper’s nightmare.
Head to the local park or playground for some outdoor run, only to find the rims have been snapped off by some knucklehead hanging on them, or by a vandal dispensing random damage. The frustration can’t be measured — akin to driving behind an Ohio-licensed car in the left lane of the interstate.
West Virginia senior Tynice Martin, back home in Atlanta while awaiting the WNBA Draft, knows the feeling, although she saw the rims come down due to a different reason.
“They city took all the hoops down,” she said, describing the impact on the search for a place to get shots up and work on her game during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’ve been looking different places, and over the last two weeks I’ve just been running on my treadmill at home and getting outside some.”
Only the absence of a ball has more impact on those dedicated to the game, but despite the hindrance Martin is still keeping on track since the end of her WVU career.
“The biggest thing about it is that there’s no schedule set for you,” she related. “As a student-athlete, you always had that, from the time you got up to the time you went to sleep. Now, it’s different, but I’m keeping to a schedule I have set for myself. I always get up early and get started.”
Her personal work schedule is helping fill the time running up the WNBA Draft, which will be broadcast on ESPN on Friday, April 17 at 7 pm ET. The draft will be be of the virtual variety, with teams joining remotely and no media or players in attendance.
“We’re going to be joining in a couple of hours before,” Martin said of the way in which players will participate. “But the draft is out of our hands now, so I try not to think too much about it.”
Before the pandemic threw the athletic world into a spin, Martin had been reaching out to former teammates who had gone through the draft process. Bria Holmes, Teana Muldrow and Lanay Montgomery were just some who offered her advice.
“I talked to everyone who had gotten drafted from WVU while I was there,” Martin said. “A lot of them had the same advice about working and not worrying about what you can’t control, and to just keep focused.”
That ability has been tested for Martin, as it has for many athletes, since the hammer fell on competition.
“It happened so fast,” said Martin of the team’s time in Kansas City at the Big 12 Championship. “First it was playing with no fans, then the NBA cancelled, and then we cancelled. It was kind of scary. What’s going on? And as a senior, knowing it was my last time, that made it tough. We knew what a run in the Big 12 could mean, and now it was over.”
Martin is unsure as to what the draft holds for her. While not present in many first round mock drafts (which consists of 12 picks) Martin’s body of work and talent level should result in her name being called at some point during the three rounds of the draft. Some analysts believe she has first-round level talent, wile noting that a drop-off in her play as a senior could hurt a bit.
“I just wasn’t consistent,” said Martin, who still averaged 14.5 ponts and 4.3 rebounds per game. “I didn’t shoot it well, and it just didn’t come together for me.”
While Martin fell to 36.6% shooting from the field and 29% from 3-point range in her final year at WVU, she has demonstrated that’s not the norm for her. She made 86.2% of her free throw attempts as a senior, and in her three seasons prior to this one shot 39.2% from the field and 34.7% from three. She averaged 15.6 points over that trio of seasons.
“I’ve talked to one team, and others have been in contact with my agent, but I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out,” she said of the draft process.
Fourtunately, she doens’t have too much longer to wait, and at some point will be able to get back on a court with the rims, and her WNBA future, in place.
The WNBA’s scheduled May 15 start has been postponed, and no dates for the opening of training camps or the season have been set.