Watson Chapel High School basketball star Peyton Martin signed a national letter of intent scholarship Wednesday to enroll at Arkansas State University and play on the Red Wolves women’s basketball team.
Martin will be graduating from Watson Chapel this spring and heading to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro on a basketball scholarship. She intends to study chemistry to become a pharmacist. She hopes to play either small forward or power forward.
“I feel like Arkansas State has a lot to offer me,” Martin, 18, said. “I like the town of Jonesboro and it is a new experience for me.”
A daughter of Felecia Dotson and Harris Martin, Peyton Martin has a sister Lauren Hardiman and a brother Harris D.J. Martin. She said she was also offered scholarships from the University of Central Arkansas, Alabama A&M University, Southern Arkansas University and Grambling State University.
The recruiting process began slowly until Martin asked her Wildcats girls basketball coach Leslie Henderson to assist her.
“At the beginning, I was a little nervous because I was not getting a lot of offers,” Martin said. “I asked Coach to help me and they started coming in. I was excited and then worried about which one would be the best for me.”
She learned to be a good student in order to play on the hardwood. She helped lead the Watson Chapel Wildcats to back-to-back 5A state championships in 2016 and 2017. She was named most valuable player of the 2017 5A state championship game.
All the while, she balanced her academic demands with her basketball duties.
“I learned I was not so good in calculus but I like chemistry,” Martin said. “That is my favorite class.”
“I think Coach [Leslie Henderson] is my motivation,” Peyton said. “I have to listen to her. Even though it’s hard, you still have to do what you have to do. It’s hard for everybody.”
Henderson hailed Martin for succeeding on the hardwood, in the classroom, and as a human being. Martin averaged 14 points per game, eight rebounds per game, two assists per game, and three blocked shots per game in her senior season.
Martin will play for Arkansas State University women’s hoops coach Brian Boyer.
“I am very proud of her choosing Arkansas State over the other options she had,” Henderson said. “Brian Boyer does an excellent job. They have a great tradition. I think she will be able to help them out quickly. He has one of the top programs in the state.”
Henderson commended Boyer for taking care of his athletes. She expects Martin will be able to arrive and have an impact as a freshman.
“Peyton is a great player, a great student, and a great person,” Henderson said. “She is top 20 in her class, had a good ACT score, is well-liked, and has a great personality. She is the same everyday. And that’s what we’re going to miss the most.”
Within the basketball context, Henderson praised Martin for being versatile, for handling the basketball and being a force in the post. Henderson similarly said Martin would have excelled at playing either point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward or center.
“When it came time to practice, she would split time and go with the guards,” Henderson said. “And when we split up guards and posts, she would go to the guard end and do their workout and then do the post workout. When it came to game time, she helped us with the press and with bringing the ball down.”
Henderson said Martin endured many injuries that prevented her from playing AAU basketball during the summer before her sophomore and juniors years. As a result, Henderson said that Martin played some games during the summer entering her senior year. Consequently, Henderson worried that college recruiters would miss seeing Martin.
“I sent some emails and we had some college coaches come in to look at her,” Henderson, who coached Martin from seventh grade to twelfth grade, said.