Transfer portal gave former Utah prep star Kemery Martin chance to come home to BYU

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PROVO — The transfer portal gave Kemery Martin a way to find herself in California, and then a way to come back home.

The 6-foot guard signed with BYU women's basketball last Friday, bringing the former Utah Gatorade Player of the Year and Deseret News Ms. Basketball who averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 3.0 steals per game as a senior back to her home state after stops at the University of Utah and California.

The well-traveled guard who prepped at Alta and Corner Canyon averaged 23.3 minutes in 34 games last year at Cal with 25 starts, averaging 6.7 points on 35% shooting.

Before that, she was a star local recruit in the Salt Lake Valley who signed with Utah and became the Utes' second leading scorer as a sophomore in 2021-22, averaging 11.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

But when an injury ended her season early, Martin opted for a change of scenery and Berkeley, where she earned her degree, started in 55 of 64 games, and averaged 8.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 rebounds and just under a steal per game in two seasons.

Now the former five-star recruit by ESPN gets a chance to do it in front of friends and family.

"Going into the portal, you get a lot from everywhere. But a big thing for me for my last year was coming back home," Martin told "I'm a big family person. I got that out-of-state experience, and I loved the idea of my friends and family coming to my games and supporting."

Martin is one of three Division I transfers to BYU, joining Buffalo's Hattie Ogden and Santa Clara's Marya Hudgins.

In BYU, Martin also sees a spot with a lot of opportunity. The Cougars aren't just losing an All-American and the program's all-time rebounding leader in Lauren Gustin, but also starting guard Kaylee Smiler and the team's second leading scorer in Kailey Woolston. The 5-foot-11 guard from Lone Peak who averaged 13.3 points per game on 46.8% shooting opted to serve an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Baltimore, Maryland.

"We play similar, and for me to be able to fill those minutes, that is something coach Whiting talked about. I see myself being able to do that," said Martin, who will enroll in classes through BYU's post-baccalaureate program. "The creating, the shooting; I'll try my best to rebound like Lauren Gustin, too. But I'm sure I'll get help there, and it's definitely something I look forward to."

Martin would pair with Amari Whiting in a BYU program that is expected to be more four-out in its second year in the Big 12, with multiple scoring threats that includes the rising sophomore point guard who averaged 10.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game as a freshman.

Martin can help the former four-star recruit take the next step, too. She's also an experienced veteran with five years of college basketball experience, including a run through the gauntlet of last year's Pac-12 that several observers noted may have been the best conference in the country with Stanford, USC, UCLA, Oregon State and Utah all wandering through the Associated Press Top 25.

Utah guard Kemery Martin (15) attempts to score against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020.
Utah guard Kemery Martin (15) attempts to score against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. (Photo: Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News)

"Kemery is a three-level scorer that will add depth and experience to our young roster," BYU coach Amber Whiting said. "She has the ability to shoot it from deep, put it on the deck, get to the rim and she has a high basketball IQ which helps her create for her teammates as well. She is a great fit for our team and will make an immediate impact through her experience and leadership."

Martin sees herself as more of a "quiet leader," not always loud or "bossy," by her own admission. Whiting's response?

"She said, great; just lead by example," Martin said. "I know the grind, and think I can definitely lead in that example."


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