Willie Howie’s Andre Martin awaits college nod

Former south Bronx standout Andre Martin awaits word from SUNY Binghamton, as he plays ball for the Willie Howie All-Stars, among other teams during tournaments this summer. - Photo by Walter Pofeldt

Four years ago, Andre Martin was cut from the South Bronx High School basketball team with many doubting his abilities. 

Now, not only is the high school graduate tearing up the courts for the Willie Howie All-Stars during the Bronx Youth Uptown Developers Coalition summer basketball league, but Martin is also awaiting word of his acceptance to SUNY Binghamton. 

Not bad for a student thought to have limited skills for the game.  “I was horrible at first,” Martin admits, “but I practiced everyday, at school, at the park, anywhere I could.  I just wanted to prove everyone wrong.”

By his sophomore year, Martin began dominating the court, becoming a star player for the South Bronx team and a main reason for their recent successful PSAL playoff run. 

Despite the strong effort, Martin felt unappreciated at his high school, feeling his future was in question. 

“I was held back a lot,” Martin said.  “The coaches just wanted a championship.  They weren’t as concerned with what we did after we graduated.  If I had half of what I have going for me right now, I would be in a better position for the future.”

Martin hooked up with Will Negron through a coach from the Sports Foundation and has been seen with his new mentor for some time, even before he graduated from South Bronx. 

Although Negron is affiliated with James Monroe Campus, he saw something in Martin – a talent that was not allowed to reach its full potential. 

Bringing Martin to various high school showcases, as well as a number of other basketball functions, Negron set out to use his contacts and help the burgeoning star achieve his dream of playing ball for a good college. 

Martin took the next step by joining the Willie Howie All-Stars, a team Negron coaches and funds during the summer in an effort to get high school graduates and young college standouts the continued exposure they need to reach new levels in the game. 

“Andre finished his career and could’ve played anywhere,” said Negron. “He chose us and I am very happy to have Andre playing with his team.”

Martin feels the choice was easy to make.  “The Willie Howie All-Stars have a great track record,” he said.  “Will Negron has a lot of contacts in the field and he has really helped me out a lot.  The media is following me around now and I think that will help me reach my goal of playing with SUNY Binghamton.”

Martin chose Binghamton for its close proximity to home, its academic choices and its strong basketball history. 

I wanted to get away, but I did not want to go to far away from home,” Martin said.  “SUNY Binghamton is not too far away and it has my major – biology, plus it has a strong basketball program that I feel I can contribute to.”

Binghamton also has a reputation for being a strong party school.  Martin does not plan on letting that get in his way. 

“I am going to hit the books hard,” he said.  “It’s known for being a party school, but I want to play it straight.  I need to achieve on and off the court, because if something happens and I can’t make it in basketball, I can fall back on my degree and be a doctor one day.”

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