Banks County senior Gabe Martin got a late start to the 2018 tennis season, and for a good reason. The Leopards basketball team made yet another deep playoff run, elongating their season. Martin, a clutch three-point shooter, had to quickly transition from the hardwood to the the tennis court, and the rest is history, as he earned the Tennis Player of the Year award.
Once he arrived, along with basketball and tennis teammate Darius Bonds, the Leopards tennis program went on to their own deep playoff run, resulting in an Elite 8 (Quarterfinals) berth.
Martin went 12-4 overall at #1 singles, guiding the Leopards to a region runner-up finish and the Elite 8 trip.
Our panel of 18 voters, made up of media reporters/broadcasters, former BLITZ players, former coaches and a couple of fans, submitted their Heisman-style ballots for the three finalists for the award, and it was anonymous in favor of Martin:
HISTORY OF TENNIS PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Martin is hardly the first Banks County player to win the award, as he now makes the fifth Leopard to lay claim to it.
2018 – Gabe Martin – Banks County SR #1 Singles
2017 – Trey Wilcox – Tallulah Falls SR #1 Singles
2016 – Trey Wilcox – Rabun County JR #1 Singles
2015 – Trey Wilcox – Rabun County SO #1 Singles
2014 – Justin Yang & Gatlin Boswell – Banks County SRs #2 Doubles
2013 – Bobby Nguyen – Banks Cunty JR #3 Singles
2012 – Jake Shaefer – Banks County JR #1 Singles
2011 – Will Jarrard – Lumpkin County SR #1 Singles
2010 – Thomas Flowers – White County SR #1 Singles
LOOKING AHEAD – THE NEXT FAVORITE(S)
We’re guaranteed a new winner next year, and Stephens County junior Ben Smith is the only of the three finalists who will return next season. However, it’s quite possible another Banks County tennis player, or Tallulah Falls or elsewhere, comes up with the 2019 winner.