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Alijah Martin, FAU Men's Basketball Guard

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb
The Truth Network Radio
March 28, 2023 8:07 pm

Alijah Martin, FAU Men's Basketball Guard

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb

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March 28, 2023 8:07 pm

Alijah Martin joined Zach to discuss his emotions after making the Final Four and if FAU has been disrespected this tournament. 

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It bows to Noel, across mid-court with five, and he's not fouled.

They give it to Masoud. One second is ripped out by Davis. Time runs out! Florida Atlantic! Florida Atlantic! FAU! Fantastic! Awesome!

Unreal! Dusty Mays Owls are going to the Final Four! You're listening to the Zach Gelb Show! That's the voice of Gary Cohen on the Westwood One NCAA Tournament Radio Network. That's right, FAU as a 9th seed is off to Houston for the Final Four.

They will have battle up against 5th seed San Diego State coming up on Saturday night. And now joining us, a 3rd year member of the FAU Owls, and that of course is Elijah Marden, who had a very good game up against Kansas State in the Elite 8 with 17 points. Elijah, first off, congratulations. Appreciate you doing this today. Appreciate it, too.

Thanks for having me. When you hear that FAU is going to the Final Four, a few days later, what goes through your mind? The amount of work we have to put in to get here, the amount of sacrifices everyone has to do to get here, and the amount of pride that we have to put aside to get to the common goal. Your team was picked to finish 5th in the conference before the year started. What type of team, though, did you think you guys had before the season did commence this year? Before the season, we knew we had a group of guys that loved to work, a group of guys that loved to compete.

Most importantly, a group of guys that loved to be around each other. When that pre-season list came out, that just gave us a tip on our shoulders. It showed the world who we really are. I know everyone's talking about you right now. Before the tourney, though, I thought you guys were disrespected as the 9th seed. Currently, you have the most wins in college basketball. Do you feel like FAU now has their respect, or do you still sense some people disrespecting you? Yeah, I mean, it's always going to be disrespect because of the mid-major. If we was a high major doing this, we would get all the praise in the world. But honestly, just what we're doing in our schedule. Our schedule's not all the toughest, but it's not the easiest. It's always going to be disrespect out there.

Elijah Martin here with Thus. When a team goes on a run like this, and there's unfamiliarity with a squad like FAU, the tag Cinderella gets thrown out there. What do you say to people that call FAU a Cinderella team? I just, I mean, they don't label us whatever. You know, you see in the interview, I said we was Beast Boys, LOL.

But I say that we're not a Cinderella. We're just a group of guys that deserve to be here because we compete every day and we love basketball. Where does that confidence come from? Because any time a team that sometimes we're unfamiliar with, they go on this run, whether it's VCU years ago, George Mason back in 2006, a lot of people may not think you guys belong, but in your locker room, you guys know what you have. So where does that confidence that you guys have with FAU come from? It just comes to work that we put in. You know, the veteran guys are believing in each other.

Also, just staying calm through the ups and the downs and always staying together. When you were walking off the court at Madison Square Garden after you guys cut down the nets and you know you're going to the Final Four, just what was going through your mind? What were you thinking about when you were walking to the locker room? I can't really say. I don't really recall just what was going on. Actually, I was just thinking about getting to the locker room and just celebrating with the guys because that's what we came in with.

That's what we're going to leave out of it. Tell me a little bit Elijah Martin from the FAU Owls. They're off to the Final Four about your coach in Dusty May because obviously he's done an incredible job with this program.

Yeah, Coach May, man. He's a phenomenal coach. He may not get the awards that he deserves, but I feel like he should get all the coaching awards there is this year because he's done a phenomenal job with us. He installs leadership.

He installs selflessness. He's a great coach. He's a humble guy. He don't care about the awards or nothing, but we all know what he can do for his resume.

He doesn't care about that stuff and we appreciate him for being him. What do you want people, and when you go to a Final Four, your entire story gets told. You're going to be doing a ton of interviews like this one, TV interviews.

It's going to get broadcasted to so many people. When people hear the story of Elijah Martin and you tell it, being on the phone with us right now, what do you want people to know about your journey? I'd say my journey has been not what they think it is. There's been a lot of ups and downs, but I'm just a guy that loves hoops, that loves to work, a guy that has class and has character and comes from a good home and just has good intentions. How has your game grown as a player from year one at FAU to now sitting here about to wrap up your third season with the Owls headed to the Final Four?

It's night and day. I'd say my freshman year I couldn't even make a post-entry. Now this year I'm probably the best post-entry passer that we have on the team. That speaks for itself, little details like that where I had to lock in and really develop it.

Just let my game transcend itself. Coming in I had to get adjusted to the new three-part line, being a little deeper than high school. I had to work on my handles, which I'm still trying to work on today. I also had to work on my finishing.

Just a lot of hours had to be put in. When did this last two weeks really hit you? Did you realize what you guys were accomplishing in the moment, or did this week off heading into the Final Four start to settle in what this team's about to partake in coming up on Saturday? I'd say when we got back from New York when it was like 200 people outside waiting on us, outside the gym soon to get off the bus, it was like 200 with their camo phones, flashing lights, news, radio, everybody was here. It just felt like the whole Boca Raton community was here and the student body was here.

It was just surreal, never seen nothing like it. It just gave us more motivation to finish this thing off. You guys have the most wins in college basketball. You're a nine seed in the Final Four. You're two wins away from winning a national championship. Just what do you say to people that may still doubt you and maybe have the take of, oh, FAUs in the Final Four, but their run's going to end at some point this weekend? I'd say just keep doubting us, because every time they doubt us, we show them different.

We won't want them to change now. Just stay on that side, honestly, and maybe you'll switch over next year. I'll tell you, after you guys beat Tennessee and your coach Dusty May said to you guys, guys, it's three more wins to a national championship heading into that Elite Eight game, did that send a chill up your spine? Because that's what it really did sink in for me when coach was saying you guys were three wins away from a championship. Yeah, when he just said that it didn't feel real, just being three more wins to be the best team in college basketball, it's definitely motivation to get the job done and also just stay locked in, just look too far ahead, just think about the next game.

That's really been the hardest part. For you guys, when you found out that you were a ninth seed playing Memphis a little over two weeks ago, did that seeding seem a little funky, a little off to you guys? Yeah, I think it had to do something with us going into the American, and Memphis was going to be in the American, they wanted to see that matchup, but we felt like we should have been a sixth or seventh seed, honestly, but we took on the challenge and we don't back down from anybody. What were you expecting when three years ago you got on campus at FAU, what did you think your basketball journey was going to be on this campus? I'd say I did not expect this.

I expected it to be a successful college career, and this is a dream come true, honestly. Well, it's awesome to be able, I'm sure, to live through it and be such a big part of this team's success, and to be able to watch it, it's been such a joy seeing your team. I appreciate you giving us a few moments today, and safe travels and good luck coming up Saturday night up against San Diego State. Thanks for having me. I appreciate all the luck and support. It's March, and that can mean only one thing, the Madness is here.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-01 09:21:11 / 2023-04-01 09:25:48 / 5

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