According to a former classmate, watching Maurice “Mo” Martin play basketball during his high school years was a magical experience. Described as having raw talent and potential, it was no surprise that Mr. Martin was recruited by Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, to play Division I hoops.
While a junior at St. Joseph’s, Mr. Martin was among the final 16 players vying for 12 spots on the 1984 Olympic team, which included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin. He didn’t make the team, but on the day he was cut by U.S. Coach Bob Knight, Michael Jordan stopped by, threw his arms around his shoulder and told him he’d see him in the NBA.
In his senior year, he was named an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and was also named Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. He was a three-time selection to both the All-Conference team and the All-Big 5 squad. In 1986, he was one of five Saint Joseph’s Hawks to be chosen in the first round of the NBA Draft, drafted by the Denver Nuggets and taken 16th overall.
After averaging 3.4 points in 43 games in his first NBA season, he tore cartilage in his right knee early in his second and third seasons and his injuries kept him off the floor for all but 23 games. In a Sports Illustrated article, his former St. Joseph’s coach, Jim Boyle stated "Maurice was fabulous, a gifted player. I think he would have been an NBA All-Star if he hadn't gotten injured. That's how good he was."
Recalling the abrupt end to his NBA career, Martin says “When I knew (my basketball career) was over, I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to pick myself up from the bootstraps… I can wallow in sorrow and feel sorry for myself or I can get up and move forward and live life…as you struggle, you realize that the sun is rising in the east and setting in the west. The world is spinning, man, and you’ve got to get back in the game. My dream was to play in the NBA, to go up against the best, and I did that. In so many ways I was fortunate.”
Mr. Martin and his family currently lives in Denver, CO where works for the Denver Nuggets organization in the engineering department at the Pepsi Arena.