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Martinez bound for Iowa
CHS grad joining Luther College hoops team
Haaydn Martinez signed a national letter of intent with Luther College this past month. Martinez will vie for playing time at point guard as a member of the schools NCAA Division-III mens basketball team. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The thought of moving from California to Iowa scared Haaydn Martinez.

"At first, I was nervous," the 2017 Ceres High grad said. "When I went on the visit, I could tell the guys wanted me to go there. They made me feel at home. It's a good fit for me."

Martinez will further his education and continue his basketball career at Luther College, a liberal arts school in Decorah.

Haaydn will relocate to the Midwest in August.

Martinez signed a national letter of intent with the Norse on June 4.

He celebrated the milestone with family and friends.

"I'm excited I get to play at the next level," Haaydn said. "The opportunity is amazing. I'm grateful Luther is taking a chance on me."

Martinez decided to become a Norse after visiting Luther College in May.

Haaydn attended a team shoot-around and scrimmage.

He also talked with some college professors while touring the campus.

"Their coach emailed me," Martinez said. "He was looking at my recruiting profile. We communicated. I sent him some game film."

Haaydn will vie for playing time at point guard during his freshman year at Luther College.

A member of NCAA Division III, Luther compiled a 4-19 overall record and finished in last place in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings (2-14) during the 2016-17 school year.

"I talked with the coach," Martinez stated. "They're starting point guard graduated. He said I'd be able to compete for that spot. I want to get playing time and show what I can do on the court."

Haaydn has already started to prepare for the upcoming season with weight training, and shooting and dribbling drills.

"They sent me a summer workout program so I'm doing that," he said. "I'm working every day to get better."

Haaydn earned a spot on Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team in the 10th grade.

He improved each season.

"I'm very satisfied," he said. "Making varsity as a sophomore was a big accomplishment. Junior and senior years, my roles got bigger. I was captain. The most enjoyable part was the bonds I made with teammates."

Martinez was named co-Most Valuable Player of the Western Athletic Conference during his final season with the Bulldogs.

Haaydn was recognized for his leadership and solid play on both ends of the court as the Bulldogs finished in second place in the WAC (7-3).

Patterson (9-1) won the team title.

The Bulldogs compiled a 1-1 record versus the Tigers.

Martinez's two free throws with one second left in regulation lifted Ceres High to a 56-54 win over visiting Patterson on Jan. 11 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

"Big moments didn't bother him," Bulldogs' head coach Julio Marquez said. "He played hard and competed. He wanted to win. He put in a lot of work during the summer. He's really competitive in everything he does. He doesn't go through the motions."

A standout shooting guard, Haaydn averaged 16.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game his senior year.

He also buried 15 3-pointers and shot 71 percent from the free-throw line.

Martinez was selected to the WAC First Team as a junior.

He averaged 16.8 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Haaydn averaged 8.0 points per game as a role player his sophomore year.

Ceres High collected 40 victories, amassed a 22-12 record in WAC play and participated in the playoffs every season during Martinez's three years on the team.

"I feel like I exceeded my expectations," he said. "I set some high goals and I accomplished some of them. I tried to do well individually and help my team."

Martinez played organized basketball for the first time in the sixth grade.

"It was hard at first," he said. "I didn't like it. Over time, I developed my game and fell in love with the sport."

Haaydn could have played baseball in college.

"I'm more passionate about basketball," he said. "It's fast-paced."

Martinez will leave for Iowa on Aug. 25.