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Penn's Max Martz announces medical retirement

08/30/2023, 11:00am EDT
By Owen McCue

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

An impressive Penn men’s basketball career came to its conclusion prematurely on Wednesday.

Quakers senior forward Max Martz announced that he will not play in 2023-24, taking a medical retirement.

Martz, an Upper Arlington, Ohio native, was an impact player beginning in his first season in University City in 2019-20. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward played in 79 games (63 starts) during three seasons, averaging 9.6 ppg and 4.3 rpg for his career.

Penn men's basketball senior wing Max Martz announced he is medically retiring on Wednesday. (Photo: Owen McCue/CoBL)

He played in all but one game as a freshman (7.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg). After the Quakers had their 2020-21 campaign canceled due to COVID-19, Martz missed the first three games of the 2021-22 season due to injury, but played in 24 of the next 25 and averaged 10.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg.

Last season, Martz played in 29 of 30 games, including a team-high 27 starts and earned an All-Ivy League honorable selection as he averaged 10.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg and shot 50 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from the 3-point range. 

“This was a difficult decision, one that I have wrestled with since the conclusion of last season,” Martz, a student in the school’s College of Arts and Sciences, said in a university release. “Ultimately, after talking with family and friends I have decided that a medical retirement is the best course of action for me and especially for my body. I will always cherish my time at Penn and am thankful for the positive impact my teammates and coaches have had on me these last four years. I will miss being on the court with the guys this season, but I look forward to cheering them on.”

After the transfer of Jordan Dingle (St. John’s) earlier this offseason, Martz was slated to be the team’s second top returning scorer for the upcoming 2023-24 campaign. The Quakers will certainly miss his size and shooting as the likes of senior guard Clark Slajchert (13.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg) and junior forward Nick Spinoso (8.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) look to lead the way with a number of others stepping into bigger roles.

Junior 6-4 guard George Smith averaged more than 20 minutes per game last season and shot 25-of-54 from deep last season (team-high 46.3 percent). He could see more shots come his way with Dingle, Martz and Jonah Charles all gone. Junior 6-6 wing Ed Holland, a Friends’ Central product, and senior 6-6 guard Andrew Laczkowski are two others who could see increased roles after limited action last season. 

Looking at the freshman class, Nik Polonowski, a 6-6 shooting guard from Lyons Twp., Ill., is someone who might fit a similar role. Ultimately, however, Martz will be tough to replace.

“Max gave us three great seasons, and while we were hoping for one more, I respect his decision to take a medical retirement,” Penn head coach Steve Donahue said in a release. “I know that he did not come to this decision lightly, so we wish Max well and we are glad he will graduate with his Penn degree.”

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