Ryan Martin shot well over 50 percent during his career at Maranacook Community High School and he took a lot of shots, finishing with over 1,800 career points on his way to being named Mr. Maine Basketball.

Now in his second year as Keene State College, Martin isn’t shooting enough. At least that’s how his coach feels.

“The fact of the matter is we want Ryan shooting the ball more often,” Keene State coach Rob Colbert said.

Martin is the team’s point guard, a role he honed in practice for two years at the University of Maine before transferring to Keene State. He’s grown into the position, maybe too well, Colbert said.

“I’m passing up shots I would have taken in high school,” said Martin, who played shooting guard at Maranacook,

Colbert and his staff changed the offense on a recent trip to Florida, from a regimented motion to a more free flowing read and react approach. And Martin’s been the biggest beneficiary of the change. In the first game after the change against Mt. St. Vincent, he scored 26 points and shot 6 for 6 from behind the 3-point arc.

“I got some open looks in that game,” Martin said. “I took the same amount of shots, they just went in.”

Martin’s scoring statistics are down a little from last season. He’s averaging 12.6 points a game while shooting .489 from overall and .455 from behind the 3-point line. He’s not particularly happy about his .857 free throw percentage though. Last season, he led Division III players in the nation in free throw percentage at 96.3, making 99 out of 103 attempts. This year, he’s already missed three shots from the line.

“He’s very upset about it,” Colbert said.

Martin also leads the team in minutes at 28.5 per game. Colbert would like to keep those minutes under 30 a game so Martin is fresh for the second half. The fact that the Owls press full-court 60 to 70 percent of the time also factors into his decision. As far as Martin is concerned, he’d like to play all 40 minutes,

“He doesn’t even sit down on the bench,” Colbert said. “He stands at the end of the bench waiting for you to call his name.”

Although Martin barely played at Maine, he found the practice time he devoted to ballhandling among other point guard skills invaluable.

“I like playing point guard a lot,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve really played it.”

Martin averages 4.4 assists a game and has a 2-1 assist to turnover ratio. One of his goals this season is to get that number to 3-1. His assists may go down in the second half of the season since the Owls lost two players to academic ineligibility, including their leading scorer.

“He’s going to be asked to score a little bit more,” Colbert said. “He now becomes one of the two guys I would look to take the game-winning shot.”

As one of the team captains, Martin leads totally by example. Colbert calls him painfully quiet, but is satisfied with the standard he sets for his teammates, in and out of the gym.

“He does everything you want in the gym, all the time,” Colbert said. “He’s always eating right, going to class. It’s so nice to have a kid you don’t have to worry about.”

The Owls are 7-3 overall and 2-0 in the Little East Conference as they head into the meat of their conference schedule. Despite their personnel losses, both Martin and Colbert think they can compete for the title. Other than his free throw shooting and assist to turnover ratio, Martin’s goals are focused solely on the team.

“He’s a pleasure to have,” Colbert said. “You know exactly what you’re going to get. If I tell him to run through a wall, he’ll run through it twice. At the end of the day he just wants to win.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

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