Shaelyn Martin had options.
But Kansas State just felt like home.
Last week, the Salina Central senior signed to play basketball at Kansas State — a decision she said really goes back 10 years.
Martin grew up watching K-State and players like Kendra Wecker, Nicole Ohlde and Laurie Koehn, someday wanting to be a Wildcat, too.
“Growing up, I always loved K-State and there’s the feeling inside you where you just know that’s where you’re supposed to be,” said Martin, who also considered Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Colorado State. “It’s hard to describe because I went on other visits before I committed, but there was something inside me that told me K-State is where I need to be.
“I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am to be there next year. I’m excited for my high school season to start. But watching the girls and getting to know them this summer at camp… it’s going to be a great experience for me.”
The 6-foot guard, who committed to K-State in November of her sophomore year, has been the ultimate stat-stuffer for the Class 5A Mustangs. The three-time all-state selection averaged 11.3 points, 9.6 rebounds. 3.5 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.5 blocks a game as a junior. She ranks first in school history in rebounds, steals and assists, second in blocks and third in points scored.
“I have the ability to do several things and I may not have the high scoring numbers other girls have, but I have the court awareness to get the ball to whoever is shooting well that night, get the ball in the post, make the fast-break passes, get in the passing lane,” said Martin, who joins 6-0 guard Lauren Mertz (Overland Park) and 6-3 forward McKenna Treece (St. Peters, Mo.) in the 2013 signing class. “Whatever position my coach needs me to play, I’ll do it — sometimes that’s in the post, sometimes that’s at guard.
“My versatility has really helped me through the years.”
That versatility has also been evident through other sports, as Martin has excelled on the volleyball court and on the track. She’s a two-time all-state selection in volleyball and a three-time state qualifier in track, finishing fourth in the 300 hurdles and eighth in the high hurdles last spring.
Martin could have gone the route of volleyball in college, but in the end, her love for the hardwood was too strong to give up.
“There was some interest in me and that could have been an option if I wanted it to, but I just have a passion for basketball and a love for it that there’s no way I could stop playing,” Martin said.
K-State coach Deb Patterson thinks Martin made a wise choice and said her athleticism and versatility as a wing is something K-State hasn’t had in the gym for some time.
“Shaelyn has quick hands and feet defensively and she has a slicing penetration and finish game, a mid-range jump shot and 3-point range,” Patterson said. “She plays with a deceptive physicality, relative to her slender stature and length.”
But Martin knows there is much to work on before arriving at K-State this next summer.
“I want to knock down more outside shots,” she said. “The dribble-drive has been working for me, but to get ready to play at K-State, I need to be able to make mid- and long-range shots when I can’t make it to the rim.
“Whatever role K-State wants me to play is the role I will take on.”