Mark Gottfried has a plan for Michigan star Caris LeVert in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night.
The N.C. State coach said he will use both of the Martin twins to defend LeVert, who leads the Wolverines with 18.5 points per game.
“We’ve got two of them,” Gottfried said. “We’ll just rotate a fresh one on him throughout the game.”
The Martins, Cody and Caleb, have had an expanded role this season for Gottfried and the Wolfpack (4-2), who host the Wolverines at PNC Arena on Tuesday (7 p.m, ESPN2).
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The way they’ve piled up numbers the past three games, Gottfried could probably ask them to wash the uniforms or drive the team bus.
“They do a little bit of everything,” Gottfried said.
And N.C. State has needed everything the Martins have had to offer. Caleb, who plays mostly as a wing, is second on the team in scoring (15.7 points per game) and first in both 3-pointers (19) and steals (9).
Cody, who has played both point guard and power forward this season, is second in steals (7), assists (12) and has averaged 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Over the past three games, the twins have combined for 70 points, 36 rebounds, 12 assists and 10 steals.
“We want to contribute as much as we can,” Cody Martin said.
The twins have enjoyed playing more minutes – 36.7 for Caleb and 22.2 for Cody – after serving in more of a reserve role last season.
Both had different stretches where they played more but they didn’t play that often together. The familiarity from playing at Davie County High and Oak Hill together doesn’t go away after one year.
“I think it’s coming back, just like high school again,” Caleb Martin said. “I’m starting to see him more on the court with me and we’re starting to read and react off each other.”
And when the two are on the court together, they’re difficult to tell apart.
“I think they like that,” Gottfried said. “I’ve gotten to the point where I’m pretty good at it. It has taken me a year and a half.”
Since they wear their hair the same way, and their beards, you need the jersey numbers to tell the twins apart. There are other clues – Caleb has his ears pierced and Cody wears red prewrap under his kneecaps.
But the easiest way to tell them apart is by the differences in their games.
“(Caleb) has always been more of a shooter,” Cody said. “I’ve never felt like I needed to score to contribute.”
With only a seven-man rotation, Gottfried has needed the twins energy and versatility. Their length, they are both 6-7, has been a plus defense, especially against smaller guards.
Winthrop’s Jimmy Gavin scored 38 points in Friday’s game but Gavin had 30 in the first 25 minutes and was held check down the stretch by the twins.
LSU’s Ben Simmons, who plays more of a point forward position at 6-10, was also defended by the twins in last Tuesday’s game at the Legends Classic in New York. Simmons finished with four points.
“The thing I like about them is you know every night they’re going to come 100 miles an hour,” Gottfried said. “Their effort and how hard they play is never in question. Those two guys, however they can help our team win, they’re going to try to do it.”
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
N.C. State vs. Michigan
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh