Jan 18, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorUniversity of Wyoming men's basketball coach Larry Shyatt probably is surprised senior Luke Martinez is his biggest headache right now.
Martinez entered the season as one of the fan favorites for the Cowboys for what he did on and off the court.
He came to Ethete in May and spoke at Wyoming Indian High School graduation.
Martinez later was instrumental in bringing the Pokes to WIHS for an exhibition game on Oct. 31. It was the first time Wyoming had played in Ethete, and the game had 1,100 people in the stands.
Before the game Martinez and his UW teammates visited Wyoming Indian Elementary School.
"It was just about reaching out to the young kids and showing them that we do care," Martinez told me in an an interview after the exhibition game.
When the team was introduced Martinez received the biggest cheer from the crowd.
"We are the main college here in the state," Martinez said. "It was very nice that we were able to come back and play in front of them."
Martinez was on fire for the Pokes in the early part of the season. He was putting in double figure points and being the leader that we all knew he could be.
Then for some reason, Martinez took a wrong turn in the early morning hours on Dec. 30 when he, junior teammate Nathan Sobey and sophomore Derek Cooke Jr., were involved in a bar fight in Laramie.
I still can't believe the three were out late during the regular season. I understand that players like to have a good time, but the Cowboys should have stayed far away from trouble.
They need to remember a lot of people look up to them as role models. I don't expect them to be choir boys, but I do expect them to stay out of jail.
Martinez injured his hand in the fight and hasn't played since. I was a little surprised Martinez was on the bench in the game against SMU in Dallas. Martinez knew he was in trouble. He should have not been allowed to travel with the team.
On Sunday, the news came out that Martinez was arrested by Laramie Police.
According to reports, several witnesses have testified they saw Martinez kick an unconscious man in the head during the fight. Martinez later admitted to the police that he kicked the man.
I couldn't believe the rumors that I heard about the fight were true., and I was shocked how Martinez handled himself in a bad situation.
I believe Martinez should never play another minute for the Pokes this year because of his actions in December.
It would be a huge loss, but he won't be able to be the leader like he was in the first couple of months in the season.
Martinez needs to get his life figured out first and make sure he graduates from Wyoming.
I know that Sobey and Cooke weren't arrested, but Shyatt needs to put some kind of disciplinary action on them also.
The situation is going to be tough for Wyoming to overcome right in the heart of Mountain West Conference play. The Pokes didn't do a good job at all on Wednesday night in a loss to Fresno State.
Wyoming has to move forward without Martinez and his scoring abilities. The fans have to move ahead as well.
Shyatt is the best person to be at the helm right now for Wyoming men's basketball. He will find a way for Wyoming to be a competitive team in the Mountain West Conference.
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