Everett Community College’s Ethan Martin (1) goes up for a layup during a game against Tacoma on Dec. 9 at Everett Community College in Everet. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Everett Community College’s Ethan Martin (1) goes up for a layup during a game against Tacoma on Dec. 9 at Everett Community College in Everet. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Martin carries on family basketball legacy at Everett Community College

Ethan Martin, the grandson of legendary men’s coach Larry Walker, is excelling on the court that bears his grandfather’s name.

EVERETT — When Ethan Martin was a kid, he and his cousins would run free at the old Everett Community College gymnasium, playing hide and seek in the cavernous building while their grandfather, Larry Walker, was busy coaching the Trojans’ men’s basketball team.

Fast forward to today and Martin is no longer searching the quirky corners of that old gym. Instead he’s on the court at Everett CC’s new facility, leading fast breaks across the floor that bears his grandfather’s name.

This season the Walker family tree at Everett CC added a third generation.

When Martin transferred to Everett CC during the summer, he joined a program where his grandfather was the head coach for more than three decades. Now he’s taking center stage for a team for which he was once one of the youngest supporters.

“It’s been pretty cool,” Martin said about playing for his grandpa’s former team. “I was around with the old gym, I watched my grandpa’s name go on the court and we have our picture on the wall. So it’s been super cool, since I’ve grown up here.”

Martin had an instant impact for the Trojans. The 5-foot-11 freshman guard, who graduated from Arlington High School in 2022, transferred to Everett after redshirting at the University of Alaska Fairbanks last season. He’s started all 11 of Everett’s games this season, ranking second on the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game, and he leads the team in assists with 4.1. Among his highlights are dropping 26 points during Everett’s 82-71 victory over Clark on Dec. 15 at the Columbia Basin Crossover in Pasco, as well as dishing out 13 assists in the Trojans’ 100-96 overtime loss to Centralia on Nov. 25 at the Red Devil Classic in Longview. He’s helped Everett compile a 7-4 record, with three games remaining before Northwest Athletic Conference North Region play begins on Jan. 10.

Everett Community College’s Ethan Martin (1) dribbles near his grandfather’s name during a game against Tacoma on Dec. 9 at Everett Community College in Everett. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Everett Community College’s Ethan Martin (1) dribbles near his grandfather’s name during a game against Tacoma on Dec. 9 at Everett Community College in Everett. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

“He’s a scorer at heart, and at the end of the day he’s always going to be a scorer,” Everett coach Daniel Thompson said. “But now that he has guys around him who can score, he’s able to show other parts of his game. He’s an underrated passer. In high school he kind of had to shoot every shot, so we didn’t get to see him create for others. But here, having five or six other guys who can score, he can just play basketball and not focus on scoring all the time. He can play more of a complete basketball game now.”

And it’s poetic that Martin is excelling for the program synonymous with his grandpa’s name.

Walker was a giant at Everett CC. He arrived as the men’s basketball coach in 1985 and guided the Trojans for 31 seasons until retiring in 2016. Walker’s teams made seven NWAC tournament appearances, peaking with a second-place finish in 1995. Walker also served as the school’s athletic director for all but the first of his 31 years, and he was instrumental in the development of the Walt Price Student Fitness Center, which opened in 2011 and is where the basketball teams now play. In 2018 the court at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center was christened “Larry Walker Court.”

And Walker’s family was involved all along the way. His son Darrell both played for and coached with Walker at Everett CC. His daughter Julie (Martin’s mom) married a former Trojans player.

Former Everett Community College basketball coach Larry Walker (middle row, second to right) poses with his family, including grandson and current Trojans men’s basketball player Ethan Martin (middle row, left) on the court that bears his name. (Everett Community College photo)

Former Everett Community College basketball coach Larry Walker (middle row, second to right) poses with his family, including grandson and current Trojans men’s basketball player Ethan Martin (middle row, left) on the court that bears his name. (Everett Community College photo)

Now Walker’s grandson is also donning Trojan red.

“It’s pretty special,” Walker said. “He was around quite a bit when I was coaching, he came to a lot of games.

“I wasn’t sure if this would happen,” Walker added. “But because of the pandemic, his class really kind of got the shaft with kids having trouble finding places to play. But he fought through it, and he’s doing a really good job for not having played any games for a year.”

It wasn’t always destined that Martin would end up a Trojan. Martin, a two-time All-Area selection while at Arlington, had his sights set on playing for a four-year college. Therefore, the Everett CC staff didn’t pursue Martin out of high school, and he instead signed with NCAA Division II Alaska Fairbanks. But after one year Martin decided it was time for a change.

So did Walker nudge Martin toward Everett?

“He actually didn’t say a word,” Martin said. “I think if I went anywhere else he would have been happy for me, but I knew deep down if I didn’t choose Everett he would have been a little hurt.”

Former longtime Everett Community College men’s basketball coach Larry Walker and grandson Ethan Martin during MLB All-Star weekend in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Larry Walker)

Former longtime Everett Community College men’s basketball coach Larry Walker and grandson Ethan Martin during MLB All-Star weekend in Seattle. (Photo courtesy of Larry Walker)

While Walker didn’t try to influence Martin, he did apprise Thompson of the situation.

“Larry gave me a call — I want to say it was in June — and said, ‘Hey, Ethan is considering leaving Fairbanks, I just wanted to give you the heads up,’” Thompson said. “Then Ethan reached out and we had some conversations. He talked to a few four-year schools, we waited that out, and once he realized those opportunities weren’t going to be there he was all-in.”

One other individual who’s been all-in is Walker. Walker, who’s spent his retirement attending as many of his eight grandchildren’s events as possible, has been to every game Martin has played this season, including driving to games in Spokane and flying to games in Pasco.

But in those settings Walker isn’t watching through the lens of a former Everett coach, he’s attending as a grandparent.

Everett Community College’s Ethan Martin (1) moves with the ball during a game against Tacoma on Dec. 9 at Everett Community College in Everett. Martin, a former Arlington High School star, now plays his home games on a court named for his grandfather, former longtime Trojans men’s basketball coach Larry Walker. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Everett Community College’s Ethan Martin (1) moves with the ball during a game against Tacoma on Dec. 9 at Everett Community College in Everett. Martin, a former Arlington High School star, now plays his home games on a court named for his grandfather, former longtime Trojans men’s basketball coach Larry Walker. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

“It’s just pretty cool watching him play, period,” Walker said. “I think he’s doing great. He’s getting better and better the more he gets the rust off of him. He does a good job of passing the ball and he rebounds well, but he can score. He’s always been able to score.”

It’s just now Martin is scoring those points on his grandfather’s court.

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