23.2 PPG | 5.7 RPG | 5.9 APG
* Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author(s) and don't represent the opinions of the Celtics front office.
|Passing||Low Defensive Effort|
|Shooting Motion||Average Foot Speed|
Why You Might Know Him
The Washington Huskies may have not made a lot of noise this season, but their star point guard made one loud impression on the nation. Markelle Fultz led the Pac-12 in scoring with 23.2 points per game – nearly five PPG higher than the nearest competitor – and finished second in the conference in assists per game behind expected lottery selection Lonzo Ball. Despite Washington finishing second-to-last in the Pac-12, the 19-year-old Maryland native topped most mock draft boards and has been tabbed by many pundits as the No. 1 prospect in the 2017 Draft class. Celtics fans may also be aware of Fultz because of his widely publicized relationship with C’s All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. The Huskies alumni worked out together last summer and have carried on regular conversation throughout the past year.
Possessions Scouted from 2016-17 Season:
OFFENSE: 18.6 percent of possessions
DEFENSE: 28.4 percent of possessions
Markelle Fultz is one of the best offensive talents in this draft but he is lacking in some key areas. First and foremost, Fultz does not showcase high-level explosiveness and doesn’t get much lift around the basket or on pull-ups. He does not create any separation with his athleticism. Instead, he does so with his ball handling. Many of his shots are highly contested, and he did not blow past a defender for an easy layup a single time in the tape I watched. He does, however, have a methodical offensive game that relies heavily on ball handling. He has a tight crossover move and is at his best as a scorer when he plays downhill off of pick-and-rolls, which he should do more often. Fultz has high-end vision and is accurate with his passes. He makes passes through lanes that others wouldn’t even see, and even if they did see them, they probably wouldn’t be able to thread the same needle. Fultz has a quick and clean shooting motion. He likes to shoot while going to his left. He loves the spin move. He’s a better passer than scorer, in my opinion. Defensively, he just doesn’t give the effort. He’s consistently beaten off the dribble and showcases average foot speed and start-stop ability. I think he tops out as an average defender. However, his defense does not define him. Fultz is a strong prospect with great vision, and he finds ways to score. He will be a good player in the NBA but his lack of pure athleticism will likely prevent him from becoming the superstar many predict he will become.
Markelle Fultz was born May 29, 1998 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He was raised by his mother, Ebony, and has one older sister, Shauntese. During his youth, Fultz was mentored by his AAU coach Keith Williams, who also trained Maryland native Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. Fultz attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland, where he played two years of varsity basketball. He was actually cut from the varsity team during his sophomore year, but grew six inches during the offseason (from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-3) and soon became developed into a star. Fultz averaged 16.5 points per game during his junior season and was named the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Player of the Year. That spring, University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar offered him a basketball scholarship. Fultz then had a stellar summer, during which he stared at Steph Curry’s camp, an Under Armour camp in Charlotte and an AAU tournament in Las Vegas. This resulted in an abundance of scholarship offers to top-notch programs, such as Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina and others; however, Fultz opted to choose the Huskies, largely because they believed in him before many other schools did. Fultz finished off his high school career with a dominant senior season, averaging 19.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, all while setting the DeMatha’s single-season assists record with 278 dimes. He was a 2016 McDonald’s All-American and a 2016 Jordan Brand Classic selection. Fultz was ranked among the top 10 prospects for the high school class of 2016 by all major recruiting services. Scout ranked him as the No. 1 point guard in the country and the No. 3 overall recruit, Rivals ranked him No. 5 overall, and ESPN ranked him No. 7 overall. He was a member of the 2016 U-18 FIBA America’s gold medal-winning championship team and also participated in the 2016 McDonald’s All-American Game and the Nike Hoops Summit. Fultz went on to play one year at Washington where he quickly emerged as one of the top pro prospects in the country despite the fact that the Huskies finished with a 9-22 record, including a 2-16 mark within the Pac-12. He ranked sixth in the nation in scoring with a 23.2 PPG average, which marked the highest Pac-12 scoring average in the last 20 years. He also tallied 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.5 blocks per game, while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from 3-point range. Fultz totaled 65 points during his first two collegiate games, including a 30-point, debut effort against Yale. He established a UW freshman single-season scoring record with 579 total points. He led the Pac-12 in scoring, player efficiency rating (27.9), assist percentage (35.5 percent) and points produced per game (23.3). He was named to the First-team All-Pac-12 and was tabbed a Third-team All-American. Fultz declared for the NBA Draft on March 10, 2017.