With his guilty plea on a charge of misdemeanor battery on Monday, former Wyoming guard Luke Martinez will serve 45 days in jail and pay $58,000 in restitution. And following his release from jail, which should come some time in September, Martinez is hopeful that he’ll be able to begin a professional basketball career overseas according to his lawyer.
“Luke’s a good kid,” his attorney, Thomas Fleener, said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I mean he gave a lot to the University of Wyoming, he regrets the incident tremendously and knows that he caused issues with last year’s basketball team, and I know he feels bad about that. So he’s ready to do what he needs to do and move on with his life.”
Given the fact that Luke was a senior last season, obviously he was going to have to begin his professional career somewhere if he wanted to continue playing basketball after his release; returning to the college ranks wasn’t an option given the fact that he played in 12 games prior to getting into the December 30 altercation that resulted in a broken finger for the 6-4 guard.
But that injury pales in comparison to what Parfait Nayigihugu had to recover from, as he suffered multiple facial fractures as a result of Martinez kicking him in the head while he lay unconscious on the ground. According to multiple reports the victim didn’t want Martinez to be charged with a felony, resulting in the former Wyoming guard pleading guilty to the misdemeanor.
What does the future hold for Martinez when it comes to his basketball career? He did average 14.5 points per game last season, shooting 45% from the field and 42% from beyond the arc, so there’s likely to be a market for his services when the time comes.
But September can be a tough month for a player to gain employment, especially in the competitive European market that in most leagues places a cap on the number of non-European Union players a franchise can sign. With this being the case, Martinez’s representation will need to plant those seeds even before he’s released from jail.