Cody Martin’s spring went so well that it really messed with his plans.
During the winter, the Gilbert basketball team surpassed expectations as Martin played a key role in a 21-7 record and a trip to the Division I quarterfinals. He had so much fun during the season that he committed to play hoops at Mesa Community College.
And then the volleyball season rolled around and he was forced to reconsider.
The senior outside hitter/setter blossomed in the spring, becoming a dominant force in multiple areas and leading the Tigers to their first-ever state championship. Martin finished the season with a team-best 377 kills and 49 blocks and added 381 assists, saving his best performance for last in the state title match victory over Brophy.
As the season came to a close, Martin, the Tribune’s Boys Volleyball Player of the Year, realized he couldn’t give the sport up just yet.
“The season was just really fun,” he said. “I love basketball, but I like volleyball even better. Winning state was a pretty big factor.”
Martin will play collegiately at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif. with teammate Ty Hutchins. They were the 1-2 punch that made Gilbert the preseason state favorites and led them to the championship, and now they will continue their careers together.
It was a dream finish this year for Martin, but it began with some uncertainty.
Near the end of his basketball season, Martin tweaked a knee injury against Basha and sat out the team’s next game. He returned soon after to finish out the year, but questions remained about a knee that had always given him problems.
However, the issue never arose, and after getting into volleyball form, Martin never stepped off the gas.
“He was unstoppable all year,” Gilbert coach Jeff Grover said in an email.
Martin didn’t begin playing organized volleyball until he was a freshman in high school.
He ramped up last summer, skipping club basketball entirely to play volleyball for Club Red with Hutchins alongside mostly Brophy players, so there were many familiar faces on the opposite side of the net during the title match.
The teams split the first two sets, but Gilbert won the final two to claim the trophy. Martin had a season-high 31 kills to wrap up his high school career.
“It’s still like, ‘Wow,’” he said. “‘We really won state.’”