FAU star Alijah Martin appreciates Dwyane Wade showing love to team amid historic run to Final Four

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Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade heaped praise upon Florida Atlantic University for the team’s miraculous Final Four run in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, and FAU star Alijah Martin caught wind of the comments.

“They ain’t scared of nothing,” Wade told ESPN. “No one believed in them, in their mind, in the first place, but this team that they’re on, so they’re playing with so much toughness, so much focus, so much confidence.”

Martin was appreciative of the compliments from the Miami icon.

“It feels good to know that a legend is giving us some credit,” he said. “And it just feels amazing.”

Amid the unpredictability of the tournament this season, FAU has captured the attention of countless fans. Prior to this campaign, the squad had made just one tournament appearance, making it in 2002 only to lose immediately to the University of Alabama.

This time, though, the team not only recorded its first-ever tournament win, but it also made a Cinderella run by reaching the Final Four after defeating its first four opponents by single digits in each game. Interestingly, three of those contests came against higher-seeded squads.

Martin and the rest of the Owls had the opportunity to extend their run against San Diego State University and make it to the championship game. Holding a one-point lead, the Owls missed their last shot and failed to stop Lamont Butler from drilling a last-second jumper from the right wing.

The shot was certainly heartbreaking to watch for Martin, who finished the match leading all scorers with 26 points. It was an impressive campaign for the 6-foot-2 guard, recording 13.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest in 36 appearances. During the tournament, he averaged 15.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Still, Martin and the Owls can hold their heads high, considering how much they achieved in the 2022-23 season. They surely would have preferred to come out with the victory, which would have pitted them against the University of Connecticut in the title bout.

Even so, FAU managed to match Wade’s deepest tournament run. The legendary shooting guard helped lead Marquette University to the Final Four in 2003. Unfortunately, the squad lost to the University of Kansas by 33 points in the semifinal.

After that campaign, Wade decided to skip his senior year and declare for the NBA draft.

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Orel writes all day, everyday. During the day, he writes and does research to complete his master's degree in education. During the night, he writes about the league he has loved since the '90s: the NBA.