LSU signee and McDonald’s All-American Jarrell Martin is a big fish in a small pond.
Martin scored the first nine points in Madison Prep Academy’s 75-38 win against Florien and finished with 29 points in the Class B regional playoff game.
In its first playoff game, Madison Prep routed Forest High School 121-35 – a game in which Martin contributed 28 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and four steals.
Three games stand in the way of Madison Prep’s first state title. Prep is a four-year-old school with 235 students, and the basketball program has only been around for three years.
Madison Prep is in the LHSAA Class B, with five larger classes above it – Class B is the second-smallest in the state. Martin said he sometimes wished he went to a larger school because of naysayers, but loves attending Madison Prep.
“There will be rumors going around that we’re only playing small schools in an easy classification,” Martin said. “But I love it here.”
In the first year of its program, Prep won 16 games and lost in the first round of playoffs. Last year, the Chargers won 34 games, but got knocked out of the semifinals with a two-point loss to Simsboro.
With the win against Florien, Prep’s record moved to 39-3 this season.
“This year we’re at a good start,” said Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones. “Each year we’ve gotten better and better and better. It’s been a process.”
Prep plays Zwolle, the defending state champions, in the quarterfinals today. Martin said he has confidence in his team and is excited about the chance to play for a state championship.
“We’re playing good,” he said. “We just gotta finish. I got high confidence in our team, so I think our chances are pretty high.”
Standing at 6-foot-8, Martin said he sometimes feels like he’s the tallest person on the court when playing Class B schools. When Prep plays bigger schools like Scotlandville, Parkview or schools in Texas, the players are closer to his size.
Martin said he’s been compared to LeBron James, and although they are close to the same height, the comparison comes from the similar style of play.
“It’s a great comparison,” Martin said. “When bigger guys [are] on me, I use my perimeter game and blow past them. When the smaller guys [are] on me, I go to the post and do work down there.”
With scholarship offers coming from as far as St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., Martin chose LSU so he could stay close to home and be near his family.
“I’m not nervous to go to LSU because it’s home,” Martin said. “If I were to leave state I’d be nervous.”
Jones said Martin signing to LSU and joining the McDonald’s All-American team are goals every young basketball player hopes for, but a state championship would be the cherry on a top of a great year.
“It’s been a dream year,” Jones said. “What would make it perfect is if he could come out and win a state championship. That’s his goal, and that’s everybody’s goal.”