At first, Nick Martineau was shocked. He said he couldn't believe what he was hearing a few days ago from BYU basketball coach Dave Rose.
Now he's hurt and extremely disappointed, but trying to move on.
Most of all, Martineau wants BYU fans to know that he didn't quit the team. Basically, he was shown the door.
The BYU guard who played the fewest minutes of any non-injured player on the team last last season -- 53 minutes in 19 appearances -- says he sat down with Rose for his annual season-ending interview with the coach last week.
It was then that Rose told him that his scholarship was not going to be renewed for his final season of eligibility.
"Of course I am hurt. I think any athlete, when they are finished, they would have liked it to keep going," he said. "I am disappointed that the situation is how it is. And I am disappointed in how it went down. But I think it is important to focus on all the good that has happened, and I am trying to not focus on the disappointment and the things that are negative. I am trying to focus on all the positive things I have been able to accomplish here and experience here."
BYU announced via a school news release Friday night that Martineau would not return to the team in 2012-13, but did not make it clear that it was not his decision, an omission that disappointed the former Davis High two-sport star.
"My plans were to pursue a master's degree here at BYU [next fall] and play my senior year," Martineau said. "I was not given that opportunity. I did not quit."
Remarkably, Martineau will receive his degree this month in business/finance, although he has only been at BYU for three years. He was a walk-on freshman in 2007-08, playing just 115 minutes in 20 appearances, then went on an LDS Church mission to Chile. After his mission, he was awarded a scholarship for his sophomore and junior seasons, but as he found out last month, scholarships are renewed each year at the coach's discretion.
Martineau says that Rose told him part of the reason his scholarship won't be renewed is because he was able to finish his degree and will be graduating this month.
"He feels that he honored his commitment to keep me here through school, through getting my degree," Martineau said. "Coach Rose said it was really hard for him to do. He said I had done everything they asked me to do, and he expected me to play a lot this past year, going into the season, but for whatever reason, that didn't happen.
He said, 'I am sorry, it is my fault. I didn't play you, and it didn't work out how we thought it would.'
He said that after evaluating the team this coming year, my role would probably be the same as it was -- just being more of a practice player and not getting a lot of minutes in the games.
He said because of that, he feels the best thing for the program is to go out and find another player who will contribute more [in games]."
Obviously upset by the stunning announcement from Rose, Martineau said he is doing his best not to disparage the coach or the program, although he acknowledged it appears cold-hearted.
"I don't think coach Rose is cold-hearted and cut-throat, but it is certainly tough to deal with. We are disappointed, but there's not much to do now but just look forward and plan out a new path," he said.
Martineau said he has been accepted into BYU's graduate program in statistics, but is now weighing his options. He could transfer, but would only be immediately eligible to play if he enrolls in a graduate program at the new school that BYU doesn't currently offer, and BYU offers almost every graduate program he is interested in. Complicating matters is the fact that his wife, Karli, is on track to graduate in December and obviously wants to finish up at BYU.
"We are still looking into some options," he said. "We are waiting to hear back from a few different schools. I am accepted into a graduate program here at BYU, which is really a great option for me. But we haven't really made any decisions yet. ... I would love to continue playing basketball. But we really need to hear back from other schools to learn more about what my other options are. If a school really wants me to come play there, things like that. It is an option to go transfer somewhere. But I haven't got too far into that yet."
Rose's team needs another player -- probably a junior college transfer -- who can come in and contribute to a team that will lack depth up front, especially if forwards Chris Collinsworth (micro-fracture surgery) and Stephen Rogers (persistent knee issues) don't return in good health.
Martineau's forced departure and Damarcus Harrison's mission plans mean that Rose has two scholarships to dole out this spring (the signing period is April 11 to May 16). One will likely go to walk-on Craig Cusick, who basically emerged as the backup at point guard to Matt Carlino and an ultra-valuable sixth/seventh man. His emergence made Martineau expendable, but he certainly won't be happy playing for "free" next year.
The scholarships vacated by seniors Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo will go to returned missionary Tyler Haws and juco transfer Raul Delgado.
Cooper Ainge, son of former BYU legend Danny Ainge, will join the team in 2012-13 as a walk-on and is expected to play a year before a church mission; November prep signees Cory Calvert and Jordan Chatman will go on missions before enrolling.
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