Alijah Martin’s family road-tripping from Mississippi to Houston

Florida Atlantic guard Alijah Martin (15) slam-dunks in front of UAB guard Tony Toney during...
Florida Atlantic guard Alijah Martin (15) slam-dunks in front of UAB guard Tony Toney during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Conference USA Tournament final in Frisco, Texas, Saturday, March 11, 2023. (AP Photo/LM Otero)(AP)
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 10:05 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

In less than 24 hours, the Florida Atlantic University Owls will take on the San Diego State Aztecs in the Final Four.

"Our drive was about 5 hours and 17 minutes, and we have about 53 more miles to go," Tina Wells-Martin said while traveling from Mississippi to Houston, home to the Final Four.

The mother of sophomore FAU guard Alijah Martin said she wouldn't miss the game for the world.

"Their teamwork, they are a group of brothers that really love and support one another, and I love that," she said. "I told them, let's go get that win!"

Wells-Martin said she was a basketball coach when Martin was born, so he had a basketball in his hands before he could walk and would play with his older sister.

"I used to laugh because she would just bang him up real good, and I was saying to myself, 'Oh, the day is going to come' because he was always tall, and sure enough, that day came," Wells-Martin said.

Wells-Martin said her son almost wasn't an Owl. She said FAU didn't have any spots left for him, but after a player entered the transfer portal at the last minute, coaches offered Alijah the spot.

"Most of the schools that were recruiting him actually wanted him as a dual sport, and I was not having it," Wells-Martin said. "I'm like, no, he's going to pick one or the other and focus on education. We still need to have time for education."

Wells-Martin said Martin is a natural athlete who played baseball, football and soccer growing up and participated in many basketball leagues.

"To see all that hard work and training and everything lead into a basketball scholarship and being able to start your journey into living your dream has been amazing, and we give all the honor and glory to God," Wells-Martin said.

"I feel like I just gained about 15 extra sons because they call me mama Mar, I'm mama Martin, and I just want them to really focus on continuing to do what they've been doing since day one."

Wells-Martin, Martin's sister and his cousin were all in the car and said they will be at NRG Stadium for the game, cheering on Martin.

WFLX asked Wells-Martin if she had a message to her son.

"Just go out there, do your best and have fun," Martin said.

Scripps Only Content 2023