About Markelle Fultz
Like Ben Simmons (LSU) in 2016, Fultz could be the top pick in the draft after not playing in the NCAA tournament. But just like Simmons, that blame shouldn’t be shifted onto Fultz. His coach at Washington, Lorenzo Romar, was fired after the Huskies finished 9-22 overall and 2-16 in the Pac-12 Conference. It was simply the waning days of Romar’s 15-year tenure at UW. But Fultz did all he could and more to prevent a losing season. Though he led the Pac-12 and finished sixth in the country in scoring, he still had an assist rate of 35.5, No. 16 among NCAA Division I players. He led the Huskies in scoring, assists, 3-point percentage and minutes played and finished second in steals, rebounding and blocked shots, all despite missing six games with a sore knee. His efforts, and the effortless manner in which he produced those numbers as an 18-year-old, were not lost on NBA scouts, who envision Fultz becoming a star when his supporting cast is stronger.
- Stat sheet stuffer
- Super quick first step/great penetrator
- 6-foot-10 wingspan
- Excellent handle
- Has body to absorb contact and score in traffic
- Excellent in pick and roll
- Great in transition
- Good passer
- Good 3-point shooter
- Solid rebounder for his position
- Gets to a lot of steals and blocks shots
- Decision-making needs to tighten up
- Has to become a better free-throw shooter
- Will have shore up defensive fundamentals
NBA projection: For the last several months, Fultz has been predicted as the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Fultz was expected to make an impact individually, and he didn’t disappoint, earning third-team All-America, Freshman All-America, first-team All-Pac-12 and Pac-12 All-Freshman honors after leading the league in scoring. He was also the top freshman scorer in the nation and sixth overall. Fultz racked up 10 games of at least 20 points, five boards and five assists, the most in that category in the country and the most in the 15-year tenure of former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar. Fultz also produced five games of 30 points or more, including a career-high 37 against Colorado (to go with eight assists) and 34 against Stanford.
Key statistics: 23.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 5.9 apg, 3.2 tpg, 1.6 spg, 1.2 bpg, 35.7 mpg, .476 FG, .413 3PT, .649 FT
Career Highlights: Selected Third-Team All-American by the AP as a Washington freshman. Paced the Pac-12 in scoring at 23.2 points per game, the highest average following the regular season since 1996-97 (Ed Gray, 24.8). A finalist for numerous national awards including the Bob Cousy Award, honoring the country’s top point guard, the Waymon Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award, and the Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden Award, both for national player of the year.
Cool statistic: Fultz was the first freshman guard in NCAA Division I in the last 25 years to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists and also shoot at least 40 percent from 3.
Reminds me of: James Harden
What Insiders Say
Former Washington coach Lorenzo Romar
“First of all, I don’t think it will be a distraction [facing UCLA’s Lonzo Ball]. Secondly I think he’ll handle it the same way he’s handled everything else. From Day 1 of Markelle Fultz coming to Washington, there’s been a lot of talk about the NBA, a lot of talk about him as an individual, and he just has not approached it that way. He never came in with a sense of entitlement. He never came in with this, ‘I’m the man, you guys act like it, and worship me’ attitude. He’s just never done that. So I don’t see why it’s going to be any different. This isn’t the first time Markelle Fultz has been in a game where there’s a player or players he’s playing against that were really high-level basketball players. He’s been down this road. He’ll be concerned about leading his team.”
What Outsiders Say
UCLA coach Steve Alford
“He can beat you a lot of ways. He had five deflections at halftime. He beats you with his defense, he beats you with his ability to create for himself, and he can create for others.”
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