Kelvin Martin knows he left everything on the basketball court when played at Charleston Southern.
That’s one of the reasons he was inducted into CSU Hall of Fame in 2017, and why he’s still playing pro basketball in Italy.
But despite the confidence he has in his game, the star forward still can’t believe he was named to the Big South Conference All-Decade team for 2010-2019.
“I was a little surprised, I’m not going to lie,” said Martin, who played at CSU from 2008 to 2012. “I know I accomplished a lot. But that list has some of the best competition I’ve ever faced. So to be included on that list is an honor.”
In addition to Martin, former CSU point guard Saah Nimley also made the 15-man roster. Nimley, who currently serves as an assistant coach for the Bucs, remembers being an incoming freshman during the 2011-2012 season. He wanted to make a name for himself and prove he could play at the Division I level.
“I think people will remember me as someone who tried to play the right way,” Nimley said. “I motivated guys to push themselves and just tried to get my teammates to play at their highest level.”
Nimley, who played from 2011 to 2015, said a lot of his leadership style came from Martin, who was a senior during Nimley’s freshman year. By that time, the upperclassman had already reached legendary status for the Buccaneers. He took a team that went 9-20 in 2008 and helped it finish 19-12 in 2012.
“When I came in, Kelvin was the only senior on the team,” Nimley recalled. “He was the sole leader and he pushed us every day. He demanded the best from us and I think that really helped me through my career.”
Martin finished his collegiate career with averages of 12.9 points per game and 8.4 rebounds. He’s only the third player in Big South history to record more than 1,000 points, 900 rebounds, 200 steals and 100 blocks.
To top it off, Martin is only the second player in conference history to win the league's Defensive Player of the Year Award twice.
After Martin left Charleston Southern, Nimley took over the reins and didn’t disappoint. He averaged 16.2 points per game and 4.4 assists during his career.
He’s one of six players in Big South history with 400 career rebounds and 400 assists. And after the 2014-2015 campaign, Nimley was named conference Player of the Year, a season in which he led the Big South with 21.4 points per game.
Though their time in the Lowcountry overlapped for just one year, Martin knew he was watching a special player when Nimley stepped on the court as freshman.
“I felt like Saah was going to be one of the best Charleston Southern players ever,” he said. “I knew he was going to make this list. He earned his spot. The numbers don’t lie.”