IOWA CITY, Ia. — She couldn’t wait until she got home to do it. In the passenger seat of her dad’s car, driving home from her weekend visit to Iowa, Kate Martin committed to the Hawkeyes.
"Born and raised a Hawk fan. Dreams do come true," Martin told Hawk Central after committing Monday night. "It’s crazy."
Martin, a junior, may have been born and raised in Edwardsville, Ill., but most of her family lives in Iowa City and the Davenport area. She’s been visiting the state all her life, watching Hawkeye women’s basketball all her life, repping Herky the Hawk T-shirts all her life.
Now she gets to trade the shirts for a jersey.
"There is no greater feeling," said Martin, a 6-foot guard who averaged 14 points a game this season. "Ever since I was little, I was watching all these great basketball players, like Jamie Printy, Theairra Taylor, Morgan Johnson, Melissa Dixson. Just all these great players — Sam Logic.
"And so it’s insane to realize I’m going to be like that one day. Like, a little girl is going to be looking up to me."
Martin led Edwardsville to a 30-1 record and Class 4A state runner-up finish this year. She picked Iowa over offers from Wisconsin, DePaul, Illinois and St. Louis.
"It was surreal, honestly," she said of the Iowa offer, which she said came about a month ago. "That’s what I’ve been working for ever since I started playing basketball — to be good enough to be a Hawkeye. And so when Coach Bluder honored me with being able to have a full athletic scholarship to University of Iowa, it was insane."
Iowa’s an emotional match for Martin. But it’s also a schematic match. The Hawkeyes have proven success with long guards who can flex to a variety of positions. Case in point: Ally Disterhoft, Theairra Taylor and potentially Davenport North product Jinaya Houston, a freshman next fall.
Martin fits that mold, said Lori Blade, her coach at Edwardsville.
"The good part with Kate is we post our kids up, too — even the guards," Blade said. “So she’ll come in with a little bit of background in that and be able to do that. But she can run the point for you. She can run as the 2 (shooting guard) or 3 (small forward). She has been our lockdown defender for the last two years.
"So, again, you’re getting a hard-nosed kid that likes to compete that’s going to work hard, but she also has a great mentality to defend."
Blade said Martin hasn’t fully tapped into her basketball potential yet. Martin also plays outside hitter for Edwardsville’s volleyball team, so she’s never had a full basketball preseason to train.
"Once she gets some of that under her belt a little bit at the college level, I think you’ll see a big jump in her," Blade said. "(Just) to be able to come into basketball and not have to play your way into shape, and be coming in (already in) basketball shape come season time."
Martin joins 6-foot-3 forward Monika Czinano, of Watertown, Minn., as Iowa's current Class of 2018. Houston is currently Iowa's only Class of 2017 recruit. It has two more 2017 scholarships available.