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From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

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Photo at top: La Rue Martin poses for a photo at a National Basketball Retired Players Association event. (Photo courtesy of La Rue Martin)

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

By Elan Kane
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

LaRue Martin Jr. thought his future was set. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1972 NBA draft. Money and fame awaited.

Fifteen years later, he started work as a UPS driver, struggling to find uniform pants that fit his 6-foot-11 frame.

"There is life after sports," Martin said. "Period."

It's been 45 years since the draft and Martin, a former Loyola University star, is now the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager. He is labeled by many as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, but he is fine with that designation.

"I don't believe in saying anything negative, you have no control over that," Martin said. "I took care of my family, did what I had to do and I'm the type of person I can't dwell off the negatives. I can't. I kept my head up high and moved onto a positive mode of life and it has treated me very well."

Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game in just four seasons with the Trail Blazers. He blames his low numbers on his lack of playing time, but many believe he was just not good enough.

"He didn't get playing time because he [stunk]," said Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who has covered the NBA for decades. "[Former No. 1 overall draft pick Michael] Olowokandi didn't do much but I think he did more than that."

Martin is used to the criticism.

"As a young man, reading the papers all the time, that bothered me, I must admit that," Martin said. "But I hold my head up high now because I've been very successful in the corporate world."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

Loyola finishes top 10 in Coaches Poll

Loyola finishes top 10 in Coaches Poll

This year’s March Madness Cinderella team (accompanied by rising star Sister Jean) not only captured the hearts of Chicagoland and underdog supporters alike, but also Division 1 coaches, too.

Loyola University Chicago finished in the top 10 of the USA Today Coaches Poll, landing a 21 spot climb to finish in seventh place — the biggest rise the 2018 poll saw. The poll is conducted weekly with votes coming from a panel of Division 1 coaches who are all members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

Loyola made the biggest climb from 21st to 7th in the Coaches Poll!

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Loyola shocked the college basketball nation as the team was only the fourth No. 11 seed in NCAA basketball history to reach the Final Four, where they were defeated March 31 by No. 3 seed University of Michigan 57-69.

Relive their memorable journey here.

Loyola's magical run ends with Final Four loss to Michigan

Loyola's magical run ends with Final Four loss to Michigan

The Loyola Ramblers captured the hearts of millions with their magical run through March Madness.

And while it seemed like this talented group, led by head coach Porter Moser - and Sister Jean, might never lose, their journey ended Saturday night in San Antonio at the hands of the third-seeded Michigan Wolverines.

The Ramblers went through a dry spell in the first half but still managed to take a 29-22 lead into halftime in a game that featured two suffocating defenses. The second half was a different story, as the Wolverines put on a clinic and continued their lockdown defense, outscoring the Ramblers by 21 in the eventual 69-57 victory.

Relive their magical run in the video above. Below you can find our Facebook Live coverage of Gentile Arena, where the Ramblers' official watch party took place during the game.