Dream opportunity: Titans' Martinelli headed to play at Northwestern this fall
That consumer education class at Glenbrook South must be really something.
It helped Nick Martinelli make a major life choice.
The Titans all-state senior basketball player was in class on April 22, talking with his buddies about things like which of the double-digit scholarship offers he'd accept after he had decommitted from Elon University a couple weeks earlier.
"I was just thinking about life and sports," he said Tuesday, "and I was just like, 'This is where I want to go; this is where I want to be.'"
This turned out to be Northwestern, to which Martinelli committed on April 23.
"I talked to other high major schools like Xavier, Utah, but at the end of the day, I know those (Northwestern) guys so well, I've played pickup games with them and, really, they just felt like a second family," Martinelli said.
He's talking about playing with returning Wildcats Robbie Beran, Ty Berry and Boo Buie, but he knows Northwestern head coach Chris Collins and assistant coach Brian James, both of whom recruited Martinelli, just as well.
"They're both from Glenbrook North, so they watched every time we played GBN over the last two years," said Martinelli, who plans to study communications. "They said they'd been in the gym anywhere from 30 to 50 of my games."
Martinelli's older brother, Dominic, initially attended Northwestern in 2020-21 as a preferred walk-on before Dom moved on to the University of St. Thomas program in St. Paul, Minnesota.
James was Glenbrook North's head coach when the Spartans' Collins was voted Illinois' Mr. Basketball after his senior season of 1991-92.
James has been an assistant throughout Collins' nine seasons as Northwestern's head coach, and also assisted Collins' father, Doug, in the NBA.
"They always talked about how competitive I was, and how I had a big chip on my shoulder," Nick Martinelli said. "They knew my family well, and they watched so many of my games."
He said he must complete the application process with Northwestern before signing his Letter of Intent.
At about 6-foot-8, Martinelli had the ability at Glenbrook South to defend all five positions on the court. A great passer who can run the floor, hit the outside shot and was nearly unstoppable in the lane with his array of moves and good feet, Martinelli averaged 22.8 points with 6.7 rebounds this past season and finished as the Titans' third all-time leading scorer.
Helping Glenbrook South to a 33-3 record and its first supersectional appearance, Martinelli was a first-team Class 4A all-state pick by the Associated Press and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
He'd initially committed to Elon University in North Carolina on July 4, 2021, but decommitted this April 6 after Elon head coach Mike Schrage and assistant Andrew Dakich left the program for opportunities elsewhere.
Martinelli said he'll head a little further north of Glenview for Northwestern basketball activities on June 20.
He's looked forward to a chance like this "my whole life," he said.
"A lot of kids, especially me, dreamed about it; people you grew up with and parents you've known your whole life being able to come and watch your games and support you," he said.
"I'm just once again grateful for the opportunities I've been given, and especially this opportunity to play at Northwestern. My parents (Jim and Carolyn) will be able to watch a lot of the games. And I'll be able to come home."