St. Joe’s Q and A with Phil Martelli’s Grandson
Tomorrow night’s game in Rochester is without question the biggest game of the year thus far. The Bonnies welcome 1st place St. Joe’s to their home away from home, Blue Cross Arena. The implications of the game are immense. The Hawks are looking to solidify their at large bid in the NCAA tournament, while the Bonnies are hoping for another quality win to bolster their resume for the selection committee.
Who better to scout the Hawks for us, than Phil Martelli’s Grandson who not only watches every game, but breaks down film with Coach all season long. We were honored to have Philip Stephen Martelli answer some questions for us in anticipation of the contest.
A little back story on how this interview came to fruition…
Just over a month ago Ian and I went to see the Warriors take on the Philadelphia 76ers.
We ended up sitting next to Phil Martilli’s wife Judy, his daughter daughter-in-law, Meghan, and her son Philip Stephen. We introduced ourselves as Bonaventure fans that recognized Philip from the sidelines of the Hawks games. We exchanged emails and told them that we would reach out for a scouting report on the Hawks in anticipation of this marquee match-up. Under different circumstances Philip would probably have broken the Hawks down for us right then and there. However, he was preoccupied, his eyes were glued to the court watching his favorite player, Steph Curry. We could see the excitement in his eyes every time he touched the ball. I don’t think he sat down the entire game.
Now onto the interview:
Q. In October, the Hawks were picked to finish 7th in league. With just 2 games remaining, Martelli has his guys in 1st with the tie breaker over VCU. What has been this team’s recipe for success?
A. Everyone knew that DeAndre’ was going to be great this year, but I think the teams didn’t expect Isaiah to be so awesome. He has crazy dunks and sometimes scores more than DeAndre’ so that has helped the Hawks win a lot. Also I think the way the bench guys have played has helped the Hawks be in first place. Even the freshman are good and everyone plays hard and together as a team.
Q. It would be hard to argue that anyone in the league is more improved this year than Isiaiah Miles. How much of a surprise has he been to St. Joe’s fans? Outsiders certainly did not see this coming, did you?
A. I think some fans were probably surprised by how good he’s been this season, but I think other people maybe expected it because, like, he’s a senior and he knows a lot about basketball.
In the beginning of the season I was always thinking “oh my gosh, he’s playing better than DeAndre’!!??” It’s like if the other team’s defense is shutting down DeAndre’, the Hawks can still win because Isaiah is dunking and making deep 3’s!
Q. Your mother told us that you were unable to make the game the last time the Hawks and Bonnies met earlier this year. Have you studied the game film? What do the Hawks need to do to beat the Bonnies?
A. Well, sort of. I watched the Dayton vs Bonnies game at Dayton on Feb 20th…it was double header on TV, before SJU played at Davidson that day. St. Bonnies won by 7 I think. If I’m not at school, I’m going to watch some film with Tug…that’s what I call my grandfather. When I was four I used to go in his sitting room with him and watch tape. Now I go to school every single day so I can’t do it that much anymore.
I hope we get a lot of fans there, that might help us win. But also we need to have good practices before Wednesday. I don’t think the Hawks played great last time against the Bonnies. So we need to play better. Tug always says “Act Like A Champion” all the time. If they act like champions, we will beat you this time.
Q. In that last meeting, Jaylen Adams poured in 31 points to help the Bonnies earn the victory. What is Grandpa scheming up to stop him? Do you expect Bembry to defend him Wednesday night?
A. Tug said all the guards will take turns on Jaylen Adams. We need to work harder than him, get rebounds and get him in foul trouble so he’s on the bench a lot. If he’s on the bench, well then OF COURSE he can’t score! When he is playing though, we need to be play really good defense on him so he doesn’t score a million points again, especially not let him score a lot of 3’s in a row.
Okay, enough with the hard questions, let’s have some fun…
Q. Who’s your favorite player on the team? Who’s your favorite player all-time (maybe it’s the same, maybe not)?
A. DeAndre’ is my favorite player. One time on the log flume, my mom’s hair was flying up in the air and I told her she looked just like DeAndre’ Bembry. I just really like him because he’s good at making shots to get the crowd cheering. He’s great at dunks and passing and everything. I have a #43 Bembry jersey and he signed it for me after the last game. It’s super big on me right now, but I’ll save it and my mom might frame it to hang in my room. Then when I grow up I’m gonna wear it.
For my favorite SJU player of all time, I should say my dad, Phil Martelli Jr, but really it’s Jameer Nelson. I used to watch the 2003-04 season highlight tape all the time. And my favorite player of all time in the world is Steph Curry!
Q. Who is your 2nd favorite Atlantic-10 team (cough cough, Bonaventure)?
A. Well, not reeeeeally St. Bonaventure, but I don’t mean that in a mean way. When Shaka Smart coached, it was VCU but my 2nd favorite A10 team now is Dayton or maybe Davidson because Steph Curry went there.
Q. You have received some national attention for your snazzy dressing at games, do you pick out your own suits? Are you superstitious, do you have a lucky “go-
A. Sometimes. Well, mostly. If I don’t, my Mom does…but mostly I do. I’m not really too superstitious but I do think that my custom suit is my lucky suit and it’s definitely my favorite because it has lots of pockets, room for a pocket square and it says “Philip Martelli” on the inside jacket pocket.
Q. The Hawks will play sometime next Friday in Brooklyn and then most likely the following Thursday/Friday in the NCAA tournament (location tbd). Have you started playing sick to get off school yet?
A. No, not yet but OF COURSE I’ll be feeling too sick for school (just joking)! But I do hope that Mom and Dad let me miss school for games. Last year, and in 2014, I was in Pre-K so that was different. This year I’m in Kindergarten so I don’t know if my teacher will mind. She’s a Hawks fan though and she goes to a lot of the games at Hagan Arena so she probably won’t get too upset.
Q. Your Mom tells us you have basketball practice multiple times a week. What kind of player are you? Do you model your game off of someone on the Hawks? What are the chances you come to St. Bonaventure to play for Coach Schmidt and the Bonnies?
A. Yea, I play for the Upward Lions. Our mascot is a giant gorilla and he’s holding a banana. My mom is our coach and we get our names announced like starting lineups and we get to burst through this curtain and high five all the fans when we run out onto the court. Then I do an Intramural league at my school. It’s called “Little Hawks” because my school mascot is a Hawk too!
I think I’m kind of a good player. I shoot threes and I’m pretty good at dribbling. I try to practice dribbling two balls at the same time. I work hard like DeAndre’ and shoot 3’s like Isaiah. I like how Fresh plays too and I’m usually the point guard on my team. I always try to play tough “D”. On Saturday, I scored 8 points in my game.
Sorry Charlie! I’m going to St. Joe’s!
Q. Finally, what’s your prediction for Wednesday night?
A. I think Wednesday will be a close game. I think it’s gonna be a lot of answer backs…like if Isaiah makes a dunk, St. Bonnie’s will make a dunk. Or if we make a three, you’ll make a three. All the time I check the ESPN app and it tells you who is the favorite to win. I checked for this game and it doesn’t say it yet but I think St. Joe’s is probably going to win by 3 or 2. That’s my prediction.
Special thanks to Philip’s mother Meghan for making this interview possible.