The dust settled after Nevada Basketball twins Cody and Caleb Martin finish balling up men twice their age for some side cash on a dirt court in their hometown of Mocksville, NC.
“We were young,” Caleb said. “They’d be 20 or 30 something while we were 13 or 14. They thought they could get some easy bread off us sometimes. But when you beat them they didn’t want to pay up. People got mad so we had to stop playing them.
The Martin twins started off playing stiff competition since there early childhood. Age, size and talent never phased the two as they continued to pursue basketball greatness. But even though the twins chose basketball as their future, it wasn’t the only sport they were fond of.
“Our family were just big sports fans in general,” said Cody. “We used to play football and baseball too. I actually used to love baseball more than I did any other sport. My uncle, loved Carolina basketball. Made me into a Carolina basketball fan.”
Basketball was ingrained in the twins from the jump. The game seemed to beckon the two towards it, and the call was so enticing neither twin could refuse answering it.
They continued playing basketball throughout their youth and ended up playing for a star studded AAU team called team Loaded.
“We were killing it,” Caleb said. “They told us ‘Y’all need to go play somewhere else. You guys can keep killing it here but you can do more.’ That’s when we linked up with team Loaded out in Virginia. We just went with that team and took off from there.”
On team loaded the twins played with 2017 ninth overall NBA draft pick Dennis Smith Jr. as they tore up the court making a name for themselves with every point, assist and block recorded.
After AAU the twins played a majority of their high school ball at Davie County High School before they transferred to a premier basketball program at Oak Hill Academy for their senior season. During their only season at Oak Hill the twins helped lead Oak Hill to a 41-4 record and runner-up in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament. The twins followed in the steps of Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo and a host of now successful NBA players.
Finally, Cody and Caleb were ready to choose where to start their collegiate basketball career. Fresh out of high school the two shared similar sentiments in where they wanted to go to play.
“When you’re younger and you come out of high school you get caught up in the material stuff; how big is the conference, how much you play on tv, all the fans,” Caleb said.
It’s natural to want the glitz and glamour that comes with a bigger stage. The reason most athletes transfer is because of lack of playing time but the twins were not suffering in the minutes’ column at NC State.
“We were hearing about coach Muss and how it was an upcoming program and how it had a lot of potential,” Cody said. “Then we decided to take a visit here and they were just really professional… With the teammates that were here to the coaching staff that was here on our visit they were just really professional, really nice people. We just got a vibe like man this is the place to be.”
That “vibe” the twins got wasn’t unwarranted. During the season both Martin’s sat out Nevada had one of the best basketball campaigns the school had ever seen; MWC regular season title holders, MWC Tournament champions and a bid to play in the NCAA tournament. While both of them hadn’t seen playing time for nearly a year, the two stressed how valuable their season out was.
“The transfer time was huge from a trust stand point and working on our craft,” Caleb said. “You work on your overall game so whenever they need the ball to go to someone going to the bucket or they need a player to talk to the teammates to rally the troops, that’s your time.”
After sitting out for an entire season the two seemed poised to help Nevada repeat last years’ conference winnings and make an even deeper run into the NCAA tournament.
Although the twins are thriving at this point in their lives, it hasn’t always been flowers and rainbows. Just like every family, they too overcame difficult tribulations.
“We’ve been evicted before,” said Caleb. “Had to go live with my grandma. She’s got a small cabin type of house. We had me, my brother and my older brother. We stayed in a backroom, it was like a living room. Had to make blankets, it was like a pallet. We huddled around a heater. At the time I think it was during the winter and she didn’t have any heat in the house.”
Even with these hardships, the Martin twins never let the hand they were dealt keep them down. They overcame adversity in all aspects of life, and followed the footsteps of their hardworking mother who kept the family afloat by herself while holding down three jobs.
Expectations are extremely high for these two North Carolina products and the entire Nevada Basketball program. The Martin twins could very well be creating their next memorable moment with the possibility of a second trip to the Sweet 16 looming.