A 6-foot-11 center out of Loyola (Illinois), LaRue Martin entered the NBA with much fanfare in 1972. Unfortunately, he never quite lived up to the hype, spending four seasons on the Portland Trail Blazers’ bench before retiring in 1976.
Martin set the basketball world abuzz when he outplayed Bill Walton in a game between Loyola and UCLA in 1971–72. The Portland Trail Blazers were so impressed that they made Martin the first overall pick in the 1972 NBA Draft.
However, Martin never caught on in the NBA, and after the Blazers drafted Walton in 1974, he never had the chance. In four seasons Martin never scored more than 7.0 points per game, and he never shot better than .452 from the field. He notched both of those numbers during the 1974–75 season, when Walton missed most of the year with injuries.
Martin retired in 1976, one year before the Blazers won their first NBA Championship. In four seasons he tallied 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.