Seltzer's Notebook | Covington Gives Back, Fultz Leaves Positive Impression

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

Covington Gives Back

A day after teeing off for a game-best 29 points behind a career-high tying 7 3-pointers in the 76ers’ season-opener at Washington, Robert Covington kept an active schedule. Not only did the 26-year old forward participate in the team’s afternoon workout in Camden, he later stopped by Chester Arthur Elementary School in Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood.

There, through a partnership with the Dreambuilders Foundation and Playworks Pennsylvania, Covington made a $20,000 contribution to the school to be put towards providing students with safe and fun programs and activities. 

“Growing up as a kid, I wasn’t able to experience stuff like this,” Covington said Thursday. “The impact it has on these kids lives, you never know what you can do for them.”

A native of the Chicago suburb of Bellwood, Illinois, Covington has always made it a point to give back to his hometown since turning pro. Entering his fourth season with the Sixers, he’s been wanting to do the same in the Delaware Valley for a while.

“Establishing myself in the Philadelphia area, that’s one thing I always pictured myself doing,” said Covington. “Now that I have the opportunity, I’ve got to use my platform as best I can.”

During his childhood, Covington spent most of his time playing in his backyard. He considers himself fortunate that his mother, through employment at a sporting goods store, was able to procure a basketball net for his family.

In those years, he said he learned a valuable lesson, one that came to the forefront of his mind at Tuesday’s event.

“My mom laid the foundation that in order for you to be successful, you have to take care of the books first,” Covington said. “That’s one thing she preached about, because at any point, other stuff can be taken away.”

Upon Further Review…

In the moments immediately following Wednesday’s season-opener at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC, Brett Brown was left with a favorable first impression of Markelle Fultz’s debut. Twelve hours later, the head coach’s opinion was that much stronger.

“I think for the limited preparation he has had, for the limited opportunities he’s had leading into this, that he was better than I thought,” Brown said. “When you start studying the shots that he made, and the plays that he made, he was way better than I thought.”

Logging 18 minutes off the bench, Fultz netted 10 points on 5 for 9 shooting. He added 3 boards and an assist.

“I think it was good,” Fultz said of his efforts. “I think I came in and was pretty effective, did what I have to do to try and help my team win.”

As Fultz continues to acclimate himself to the physicality, quickness, and aggression of athletes in the NBA, Brown hopes to see the 2017 No. 1 pick build up his strength to better help him on drives to the basket.

“That’s the area I noticed caught [Fultz] more off-guard than any,” said Brown, “but he moved on the court, he got where he had to go.”

International Influences

Heading into the first week of the regular season, only two of the NBA’s 30 teams had more foreign-born players on their roster than the Sixers. The Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz each featured seven imports under contract on their respective opening nights, while the Sixers, along with the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs, had six.

Having coached in Australia for 17 years before taking a full-time position with the Spurs, a franchise that’s long had its eyes on the international market, Brett Brown has developed an affinity for teams with diverse make-ups.

“These guys sharing their life experiences, and not only the different countries and continents that they come from, I love,” said Brown, who led the Boomers to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

He’s had a front-row seat, in many ways, for the expansion of the game on a global level.

“I’ve seen it grow,” Brown said. “I think it’s just a real cool dynamic to a locker room and spicing up conversations and experiences.”

The Sixers' international contingent consists of Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Furkan Korkmaz (Turkey), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (France), Dario Saric (Croatia), Ben Simmons (Australia), and Nik Stauskas (Canada), all of whom are 24 years old or younger.