Andre Martin finds a fit at FIT

Andre Martin still doesn’t have the school of his dreams. The former South Bronx standout just attends the dream school of so many others: Fashion Institute of Technology.

The 6-foot-1 guard won’t be walking down any runways or producing designs for dresses. He is majoring in advertising and marketing while keeping his dream of playing at a four-year Division I school alive.

FIT has a basketball program, one of the better Division III JUCOs in the nation in fact. The team was so deep last year – FIT finished 28-3 – Martin didn’t break into coach Michael Kerr’s rotation consistently until late in the season.

The basketball team’s success hasn’t translated into notoriety. When Martin, 19, tells friends he goes to FIT, the Bronx native usually receives sideways looks. Even fellow classmates don’t know the fashion school has a gymnasium.

He’s hoping to open eyes this summer, playing for the first time in unlimited streetball leagues such as the Orchard Beach-based Hoops in the Sun and Spanish Harlem’s Together We Chill. At HITS, Martin is averaging 14 points per game for the Willie Howie All-Stars.

Last year, he took Introduction to Fashion. The class was based on famous designers, where the clothes came from and how the material is created. Martin, who had an 86 average in high school and called himself a science guy, earned a C.

Martin didn’t picture himself at a school like FIT when he attended South Bronx. After averaging 18 points per game his senior year, he received interest from Manhattan, Binghamton and Fordham. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a qualifying SAT score, although he did have his necessary core courses. Then when he finally got the score he needed, the scholarship offer never came.

His advisor, Willie Negron, had been in touch with Kerr, the FIT basketball coach, in regards to Martin. With one day to spare, he enrolled at FIT. It has turned out to be a sound decision.

FIT does offer challenges that other JUCOs lack. The course load, Kerr said, is far tougher than the usual Division III junior college. Martin, in fact, failed one class last spring and will have to make up the credits at a community college before returning for the second semester. He expects to be eligible and back at FIT when the conference schedule begins.

Yet, he is happy with his current situation. Being at FIT has opened his eyes to a new world, the world of fashion. Martin initially thought about majoring in a different field, such as fashion, but settled on marketing.

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