Actually, it was perfectly fine. After being asked by coaches for years to relent on this summertime basketball ban, the NCAA changed the rules. As long as they are attending class, players are now allowed 8 hours per week over 8 weeks in the summer for basketball activities overseen by coaches and staff members - 2 hours on the court, 6 hours of strength training.
So, all over America this summer, coaches, who spend most of every July on the road recruiting and August taking vacations before the fall semester starts, actually got to spend time with their players on basketball instruction.
By early August, most of the St. Joe's players had finished their 8 weeks. A few more, including incoming freshmen (who are only in summer school for 6 weeks), were getting their time in.
"The first summer session, I did a little bit of defense, but I could tell it wasn't as sharp so we just stayed with offense," Martelli said. "Two weeks ago, we had eight or nine guys. We would go live four-on-four for 35, 40 minutes."
In other words, actual organized basketball, with coaching. Why that was a bad thing only the NCAA knows.
Last year, Martelli said, Wilson was here by himself. The coaches were recruiting.
Wilson, a rising sophomore, is a backup point guard on a Hawks roster that has everybody back. When fall workouts began last year, he really had no idea what was expected. Now, he will.
"It's definitely a big difference being able to work with the coaches," Wilson said. "During the season, they see us play every day so they know our strengths and weaknesses sometimes better than we do. Even though it's not as much as during the season, having a little time to be able to work with them, even for them to show you something you could do on your own, it's definitely a big advantage."
Last year was hard, Wilson said.
"You have to find your own way, you have to rely on the older guys on the team," Wilson said. "Now, I've been through it a year. It's a completely different feel. Having the coaches here to give you direction, it's definitely a lot more structured in the summer. I like it."
The players could lift weights before, but it was all-volunteer. And there could be no communication between the strength and conditioning coach and the basketball coach. If a player decided he wasn't getting up to lift, he didn't get up. And he didn't get better.
"Some coaches may have decided to do individual instruction and do it a guy at a time," Martelli said. "A lot of guys that I talked to have done their whole team. What we've done is two 1-hour sessions. [Wisconsin head coach] Bo Ryan told me he did 2 hours every Tuesday night."
If you have 10 players, you can have a five-on-five. You can also use local alumni players to work out with the players or even play against them.
Players who attended both summer class sessions were done by early August with the coaches. So, Martelli can't watch or coach players such as Langston Galloway at this stage.
If a player who has finished the 8 weeks is on the practice court just shooting while the coaches are on the court with other players, that player has to shoot elsewhere. One never knows when Big Brother NCAA might be watching.
So, why did the NCAA finally decided to let coaches coach in the summer?
"One is this faucet that has opened with transfers and some of the belief that transfers occur because these guys want instruction and we can't offer instruction," Martelli said. "So who are they talking to, who are they listening to?
"Two was the strong presentation. I don't coach basketball. I should be considered a teacher of basketball and if a professor here wanted to work with a kid on science, then why can't I work with these guys who have a gift and are here because of my request to come?
"The third thing that I think happened is that there has been a growing trust between the NCAA and coaches."
Mistrust and suspicion have been replaced by a sense of community.
"In this case, people listened to each other," Martelli said.
The old way was especially silly for the freshmen who typically arrived in late June for the second summer session.
"I could meet them, monitor what was going on academically, but I couldn't monitor anything with the weight room and I couldn't monitor anything with basketball," Martelli said. "On top of that, [in early July] adios, fellas."
The coaches would be on the road recruiting for days at a time. Now, with the new recruiting calendar, they are out for a few days a week, back home for a few days. This new practice rule still made July, with recruiting and basketball, a full-time month, but just different.
"It was intense," Martelli said.
When Martelli was young, players liked to play. They would seek out games. Now, he said, they like to work out more than play.
"I don't know what it is," he said.
This summer, he actually watched his team play the game a few times. And, while on the court, the coach asked his players about their classes and their lives. "Where are they most comfortable?" Martelli said.
That would be a basketball court, a place where coaches and their players can now actually be seen together in the summertime.
Contact Dick Jerardi at firstname.lastname@example.org