NEW ORLEANS — After the ultimate buzzer, as he made his way across the court, the Kansas transfer guard Remy Martin stared triumphantly on the Jayhawks fans who were pressing against the Superdome’s railings to get as close as they might to him.
“Rem-y! Rem-y!” they chanted.
They’d screamed his name when he was introduced before Monday night’s national championship game. And again after his step-back 3-point jumper broke a late tie with North Carolina to assist seal a 72-69 win.
This was the Martin that they had expected when he transferred from Arizona State before the beginning of the season. The Martin that Coach Bill Self and his teammates had envisioned and hoped to see.
He entered the season because the Big 12’s preseason player of the 12 months after dominating the Pac-12 with the Sun Devils, but he was derailed by injury for a part of January and most of February. For months, his status was uncertain as he had gone from a player averaging 19.1 points in his junior and senior seasons with the Sun Devils for first-team All-Pac 12 honors, to a player barely making any appearances.
After a standout 2020-21 season at Arizona State, Martin tested the N.B.A. waters before announcing his decision to transfer to Kansas, bolstering a loaded Jayhawks team as a super-senior.
The hype surrounding his arrival was felt in his Jayhawks debut, when he dropped 15 points in an exhibition against Emporia State.
Fans chanted his name even then, as their team’s recent point guard, along with his magnetic personality and explosiveness, added one other layer of talent to Kansas’ elite program.
In a December game against Nevada, though, Martin was driving toward the basket when his right knee collided with a Nevada defender who had shifted into the lane as he was running forward. Martin tumbled to the ground, grabbing on the knee.
Martin, who was later reported to have a bone bruise, was largely ineffective within the games that followed as he moved to a reserve role. He missed nearly a month at first of the 12 months.
The veteran Jayhawks were still successful without him, ending the regular season with a 25-6 record and sharing the Big 12 regular-season title with Baylor. They’d the senior guard Ochai Agbaji, the senior forward David McCormack and the junior guard Christian Braun to power them forward.
But their probabilities of seeing every part Martin could add to the team late within the season didn’t occur until the N.C.A.A. tournament.
“I feel Remy, in his core, at all times knew what he was capable to do to assist us, but we hadn’t really seen it yet because his health hadn’t allowed it,” Self said. “I feel our guys have more of a swagger now knowing what Remy can do to make us higher.”
Since his healthy return, Martin showed that he was considered one of the pieces that made this Kansas team unstoppable, though teams tried, and nearly succeeded, at halting the Jayhawks’ championship run.
Martin finished in double figures in each of Kansas’ first three games of the tournament, scoring 20 points within the round of 32 and 23 points within the round of 16 to assist the Jayhawks eke out narrow wins over Creighton and Windfall.
Martin wasn’t much of a think about the national semifinal against Villanova, scoring just 3 points, however the Jayhawks hardly needed him after profession nights from Agbaji and McCormack.
Against North Carolina, Martin was the engine that powered Kansas’ historic second-half comeback, wherein the Jayhawks erased a 16-point deficit to win their fourth national title in program history.
In his role coming off the bench, Martin created his own shots when his teammates couldn’t, flattening the massive ones just when the Jayhawks needed them.
“Within the second half, I just got here in there, tried to make something occur and shot the shots with confidence,” Martin said. He added: “I desired to keep going and extend that lead. And I’m comfortable that we did that
Martin’s 3-pointer late in the sport was his fourth of the night, greater than another player.
And although his path to the lads’s national title game was perhaps tougher than the route most of his teammates took, it ended just the identical: with him standing center stage on the Superdome, blue and red confetti sticking to his championship gear, hoisting a national championship trophy.
“This 12 months has been a troublesome 12 months individually for me,” Martin said, “just injuries and just hard to search out a groove sometimes. Nevertheless it felt great.”