Basalt boys basketball ready to run under new coach C.P. Martinez |

Basalt boys basketball ready to run under new coach C.P. Martinez

Boulder native C.P. Martinez is the new boys basketball coach at Basalt High School. The Longhorns open their season on Friday.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

Clemente “C.P.” Martinez understands what sort of program he is inheriting, and that is a key reason why he jumped at the chance to become the Basalt High School boys basketball coach.

A Boulder native, the 33-year-old Martinez has long visited the Roaring Fork Valley to see family. His brother, Damon Martinez, is a former middle school teacher in Basalt who is now the head girls soccer coach at Coal Ridge High School.

“Some of my more fonder summer memories were of going to open gyms up here, because I’d come and live up here with him,” Martinez said. “Having the opportunity in a place like Basalt is amazing. I know the history, the Paul Cain era, what kind of athletes are around, the community support.”

Cain, a 1986 BHS graduate who many would argue is the best player in school history — he’s also considered one of the best players in Colorado Mesa University history — was the coach at Basalt during those summers when Martinez would come live with his brother.

Martinez played basketball collegiately at Fort Lewis College and at a junior college in McCook, Nebraska, before graduating from the University of Colorado. While at CU, he began coaching basketball at his alma mater, Fairview High School in Boulder. He is currently a seventh grade social studies teacher in Carbondale, where he also coached middle school basketball.

He replaces Danny Martinez (no relation), who surprisingly resigned after four seasons in charge of the BHS program, citing personal reasons. Basalt went 47-43 over those four years, with 38 of those wins coming over the past two seasons.

“I feel fortunate to be in such a position to not only continue, but build further, the type of program that I’d like to see,” C.P. Martinez said. “A lot of people might think we are rebuilding after the great year they had last year, but with the kids we have, I consider we are more reloading.”

Martinez takes over a program fresh off a 21-4 season in which it made the Class 3A state quarterfinals for the first time in 28 years. He also inherits a program that graduated — along with seven other seniors — Michael Glen, the reigning Western Slope League player of the year who is a freshman on the Colorado School of Mines men’s basketball team. The 6-foot-7 standout finished his Basalt career with 1,390 points (Cain’s 1,665 is the school record).

Still, Martinez likes what he’ll have to put on the court when the 2017-18 season gets underway Friday in La Jara. While they won’t have the height, the Longhorns should have plenty of athleticism. They also have many players who helped the BHS football team win a Class 2A playoff game for the first time in school history in the fall.

“They have an understanding of how to win,” Martinez said. “There are a lot of question marks. Obviously, we do not have the size that we had, but we have the athletes. I think that’s, from top to bottom, one thing that has impressed me.”

Basalt looks to be guard-heavy this winter. Seniors Justin Henderson, who was second on the team behind Glen with 10.8 points per game as a junior, and Wylie Hawkins could provide the Longhorns with one of the best backcourt duos in the Western Slope. Hawkins averaged 5.4 points per game last season, but only appeared in seven contests.

Juniors Jake Reardon, Trevor Reuss and senior Kyle Hofferbert — all football players — bring some varsity experience into the season and provide the sort of athleticism that has Martinez feeling optimistic.

A handful of sophomores are likely to see extensive playing time as well. Without a player like Glen to feed, Martinez plans to run the court with his athletic guards and wings and push deep into his bench.

“I do know who will start for us, but at the same time I don’t play six, seven kids. The idea of how I run a system is I want to be playing 10 kids and they are in and out,” Martinez said. “We have kids that I like that we can rotate in. They have that experience. They have football experience. They are just competitive athletes. That is a blessing for me to have.”

Basalt opens the season against Salida at 10 a.m. Friday in a two-day tournament hosted by Centauri High School. BHS will open its home slate on Dec. 7 against Delta.