HERALD ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: NICK MARTINELLI OF GLENBROOK SOUTH
Continuing his senior boys basketball season as strongly as he finished his junior campaign, Glenbrook South High School's Nick Martinelli earned MVP honors at Palatine.
Leading the Titans to the Thanksgiving tournament title at 4-0, the 6-foot-8 Martinelli averaged 22.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.3 steals without playing any significant fourth-quarter minutes.
"We're talking astronomical numbers, and given that he's only playing three quarters," said Glenbrook South coach Phil Ralston.
Martinelli, who is headed to play college basketball at Elon University in North Carolina, scored 26 points in the Palatine title game against Stevenson, a 79-42 victory, and scored 24 points in the opener against Elk Grove.
Entering Tuesday's game against Lake Forest, he was shooting 68% from the floor and 40% from 3-point range. Those numbers helped lift Glenbrook South to a third consecutive Thanksgiving tournament title after winning at Buffalo Grove in 2019 and 2020. Thanksgiving tournaments were not held last year.
"He can play any position on the floor for us," Ralston said of Martinelli, a premier dunker. "He's a fairly dominant inside player, he's one of our best perimeter shooters, he can face the basket or play with his back to the basket in the post.
"He's got really great court vision -- when teams collapse on him he does a fantastic job of finding the open man."
A three-year varsity player who was part of Ralston's rotation as a sophomore, eventually becoming one of the first off the bench, as a junior Martinelli averaged 21.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3 assists. He was all-conference in the Central Suburban League South, a first-team Class 4A all-state pick by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and a second-team Class 4A selection by the Associated Press.
This doesn't come by accident or just pure talent.
"When we're done with practice or we're done with a camp, I know Nick is going to be fine-tuning his craft for another two or three hours. As coaches, we like to throw around the term 'gym rat' too loosely. But if there's one out there, it's Nick; he's cut from the same cloth as his older brother, Dom," Ralston said, noting the former Titan now at the University of St. Thomas.
"These hard workers, as coaches we always like to see the kids who put in unrequired work be rewarded."