Darrell Moody: Martins reunited with old friend
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When Cody and Caleb Martin walk onto the Bridgestone Arena floor Sunday, they will see Kyle Washington, a former teammate from their days at North Carolina State.
Washington played two seasons at NC State before transferring. The 6-9 230-pound Washington played his sophomore season with the Martin twins before leaving for Cincinnati.
The Martins just smiled when Washington’s name was brought up in the off-day press conference prior to today’s 3:10 game against the second-seeded Bearcats.
“Yeah. Kyle’s my guy,” Caleb Martin said. “I just saw him walking over there. I talked to him for a little bit, talked to him before the game yesterday. He’s rooting us on, stuff like that. But at the end of the day, whenever the clock starts tomorrow, we can’t be friends no more. We’ll have to wait until afterward. He knows that. Gary Clark is my boy, too. We get together a lot over the summer and hoop in Raleigh a lot.”
“Those are our guys,” added Cody Martin. “At the end of the day, it’s nice to see your friends succeed. But at the end of the day, in this situation, only one person can advance. So we want it to be us. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a dogfight and we know how much we put into it. And we all have the same mindset, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Washington said he kept in contact with the Martins throughout the season.
“I have a great relationship with them,” said the Cincinnati star. “I’m not going to hide. I’m not going to deny it. That’s not going to translate when we get in the 94 feet. I’m going to compete against them like anybody else, because we’re trying to achieve something as a team. But, you know, we’re extremely close. We were talking during the season. They changed that program over at Nevada and I’m happy for them. They’ve been through a lot, and I’m just happy to see their success.
“I think it’s just funny how the world works, how it all comes full circle. I told my best friend on the team, I said, ‘I’m not going to be able to tell the difference when they came in the first, like, day or so.’ I was just as close as one with the other.”
Both Martins said that Washington helped them get through a tough first season at NC State. The Martins bolted for greener pastures, eventually landing in Nevada.
“I have a lot of memories of Kyle.,” Cody Martin said. “He was there for me when I had some tough situations when I was there. But he’s a king of trash talk when we were there and he kind of rubbed off on us. We were pretty decent at it when we got there, but he took it to another level.”
“Pretty much the same thing off,” said Caleb, agreeing with his brother. “He was kind of our big brother there, when we came there as freshmen, and he got us through the whole entire college experience while he was there. You know, we loved each other like brothers and we fought each other like brothers.”
Caleb said the trio used to mix it up a lot at practice.
“I remember me and Cody in practice would be on the same team and Kyle would be on the other team,” Caleb Martin said. “Somebody would go for a rebound, somebody would get hit hard and next thing you know, we’re all squaring up against each other. It’s all love after practice.”
The Martins drew some laughs and giggles when asked about their relationship growing up.
“I mean, ever since I honestly can remember, honestly, like we used to fight over — it wasn’t even only about sports. It would be just about anything,” Caleb Martin said. “But one memory I have, just playing outside, and I think we got mad at each other for some reason and somebody, I think Cody had grabbed — we went to a carnival or something like that. He had one of the balls I won from a contest and he kicked the ball in the woods for some reason, because I beat him or something. He didn’t know his was laying three feet next to me so I grabbed his, kicked it in the woods.
“Next thing you know, we were rolling around in the grass fighting each other until the next door neighbor had to go get my mom, tell her to come out there and grab us, because she knew we wasn’t going to stop.”
Cody brought up a story about the two playing video games.
“I mean, there’s a lot of them (stories), but another thing is whenever we’re playing Madden and stuff, it’s like at the end of the game, he gets a pick six to win the game, I get mad,” Cody said. “Next thing you know, we’re fighting on the couch, put a hole in the wall. It is what it is.”
And forget about playing 1-on-1. It turns physical in a hurry.
“It always ends up in a fistfight anyway,” Cody said.
“We can never finish the game,” Caleb said. “That’s why a lot of times when we play pickup, we can’t guard each other because we can’t finish the game, because me and Cody will be over there fighting, and it will be football. It won’t be basketball anymore.”