The top girls basketball player from Western New York might be playing where snow won’t fall this winter.
After a year at Blair Academy in New Jersey, former Williamsville East star Erica Martinsen is wrapping up her scholastic career at IMG Academy in Florida.
The 2016 Buffalo News Player of the Year verbally committed to the University of Virginia back in January. She made that official by signing her National Letter of Intent to the Atlantic Coast Conference school on Nov. 6.
“It was one of the first big-time schools to offer me,” Martinsen said last week. “I knew they saw potential in me and I really respected that.”
By the time the recruiting process was over and done with, the 5-foot-9, sharp-shooting guard accumulated upwards of 40 scholarship offers. She doesn’t know the exact number because she stopped counting.
“I knew from day one that I was going to go to Virginia,” said Martinsen, who is ranked as the 28th-best point guard in the class of 2018 by ESPN.
A big influence on her decision was current Virginia sophomore Felicia Aiyeotan. Martinsen got to know her when she started the 2015-16 school year at Blair Academy before transferring back to East for her final season with the Flames.
“I’ve honestly loved Virginia since I was a sophomore because my teammate decided to go to Virginia,” Martinsen said. “I trusted her opinion a lot. When I visited I just really loved it.”
Martinsen took her official visit in early November. She had the opportunity to tour the facilities and hang out and play some Rock Band with the current cast of Cavaliers.
So excited to announce that Erica Martinsen (Clarence, N.Y.) will be joining our #UVAWBB family for the 2018-19 season! Can't wait to have you here, Erica! 🔶🔷https://t.co/aSZd1p6nq8 pic.twitter.com/n3PSO1drtT
— Virginia WBB (@UVaWBBHoops) November 13, 2017
“I hope I can step in with my shooting,” Martinsen said. “I hope I can get a spot in the rotation as a freshman. That’s my goal.”
“Erica is a high IQ combo guard who is a pure shooter with deep range and a quick release,” Virginia coach Joanne Boyle told the school’s website. “She plays with a toughness and tempo that fits our style and system here at UVA. Erica will really be able to stretch defenses and her versatility will help us with our rotations and depth.”
In order to do that, Martinsen knows she’ll have to get quicker to guard ACC-caliber players from top programs like Louisville, Notre Dame and Duke.
“IMG has made me so much stronger and faster already in just our preseason,” Martinsen said. “The coach is really into sprints and running, and that’s exactly what I needed. Work on lateral quickness and explosiveness. I hope by the end of the year I progress even more.”
Martinsen is approaching the 2,000-point mark for her high school career. She eclipsed 1,000 during a sophomore season in which she averaged a WNY-leading 31.3 points per game. Her school records at Williamsville East include points in a season (721), points in a game (50), three-pointers in a game (8), threes in a season (99) and steals in a season (114).