Q&A: Martin Zeno talks Tech basketball, his pro career and future
Texas Tech basketball had arguably their best season in school history this spring, making a run to the Elite Eight for the first time ever. But that run shouldn't overshadow some of the great teams and players in Red Raider basketball lore.
One of the all-time greats is Martin Zeno, who spent some time with us reminiscing on his career as a Red Raider, the current state of Texas Tech basketball, his pro career, and what's in store for his future.
Dive into our Q&A with him right here...
Tell us a short intro into your basketball background and playing career at Sulphur High School.
"I feel I had a good high school career. I started since my freshman year. We made it to the playoffs every year I was there. I really enjoyed my years there and playing with my friends I grew up with."
What attracted you to play for Texas Tech and Head Coach Bob Knight? How did the possibility of playing for Texas Tech come about?
"The things that really attracted me to Tech were that on my official visit, it just felt like a place I could call home. Plus the chance of working to play as a freshman. Coach Knight was a plus to play for. One of the greatest coach of all time. I wouldn’t change that experience for nothing because he motivated me to become a better player."
Current Texas Tech Head Coach Chris Beard was an assistant and later associate head coach while you were at Texas Tech. What was it like being coached by Chris Beard?
"It’s was great because the way he coaches now is the same way he coached when I was there. He gives you confidence and motivates you to become the best. So it’s no surprise he's doing what he's doing now."
Tell us your favorite story or memory of Coach Knight. Same thing for Chris Beard.
"The memories from Coach Knight I still use today, because he taught me to never quit and always expected the unexpected through out life and I will always cherish that. Glad I’ve played for him."
"Coach Beard, my best memory and one I will cherish for the rest of my life: My grandmother was very sick, pretty much on her death bed, my freshman year. At the time I didn’t know but he came to tell me about it in the middle of the stormy rain and flooding over Lubbock. Plus it was late at night and he sat there and talked to me about it. I really appreciate that."
We know you were part of a very successful Texas Tech basketball run over your career, making the NCAA tournament twice (Sweet 16 in 05’, first round in 07’). What was your most memorable moment as a Red Raider?
"I had a lot of great memories playing there. Making the Sweet 16 of course but also just playing in front of some of the best fans in the world. Still the best memories of my life. That’s why I have nothing but love for Texas Tech."
Do you still follow Texas Tech basketball closely? What did you think of this past season’s team and the Elite 8 run?
"Since I graduated, I have kept up with the basketball team. It’s my family so I will always keep up with what’s going on there. This year is one of the greatest teams we have had plus the energy they brought back to the arena and the city was great. Just loved watching them play."
After you graduated from Texas Tech, you were drafted by the NBA D-League Erie Bay Hawks. What was it like playing for that organization?
"It was a good experience but didn’t workout like I wanted, but that’s part of life. Just had to take the lessons I learned there and move on."
Tell us about your professional career and achievements since playing for the Erie Bay Hawks. We know you have been extremely successful.
"My career has been great. I have played against some of the best players and teams in Europe. I have won four championships and two player of the years. I have been on all imports teams, first team players of the country and finals MVPs. My overseas career has had some very productive years. I just have to thank God for that."
Have you thought about what you want to do after your playing career? Perhaps coaching, etc?
"Actually I have been thinking about that lately, because I’m pretty much on my way to retiring, so it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I could see myself coaching but just have to figure it out soon."
Finally, what does it mean to you to be a Red Raider?
"Well, it means everything to me because it’s my family and will always be my family. I’m Red Raider for life and I wouldn’t change that for nothing. I just want to thank you for having me. It means a lot to me."