June has come, which amongst many things, means the NBA Draft is just a few weeks away. And this year’s crop of college stars has basketball fans especially excited. As NBA teams analyze the field and narrow down their choices, we’ve jumped the gun and made our own selection in the meantime. Coming to NBA arenas next fall, get ready for the spectacle that is Markelle Fultz.
Fultz brings a special skill set to the basketball court. On the one hand, he’s remarkably quick and agile, effortlessly showing the ability to create his own shots and produce off the dribble. Whether driving, twisting, or absorbing contact, Fultz stays under control. And when he gets to the rim, he knows how to throw down in style. Fultz, however, also knows his role as a point guard, which is to organize and delegate. He demonstrates strong handles alongside an unselfish approach, which have made him an electric distributor of the ball.
At the same time, he stands out for his physical gifts. He stands 6’4, but has a 6’10 wingspan. Throw in large hands and a filled-out frame and it’s easy to see why he’s a step ahead of most players. But make no mistake, Fultz didn’t just stumble across his craft. His hard work has paid off, as he’s now positioned himself to be the possible #1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
In high school, and most recently in college, Fultz’s ability gave way to some impressive stats and performances. At DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland, Fultz earned McDonald’s All-American status in 2016 as a five-star recruit before enrolling at the University of Washington. In Seattle, the accolades continued to flow, as he relentlessly filled up the stat sheet.
Despite Washington’s poor season, Fultz remained a constant bright spot for the Huskies, finishing the year with 23.3 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game. He became the first college freshman since the ’94-’95 season to average over 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, while his points per game mark was the highest in the Pac-12 since the ’96-’97 season. Pac-12 coaches rewarded the freshman with First Team All-Conference honors, while national voters placed him on the Third Team All-American list.
You might say the future looks bright for Fultz. And given his new NBA teammates will present a greater supporting cast than he had in college, there’s even more reason to suggest Fultz could be a superstar at the highest level.
Yet there’s still considerable room for improvement for the teenager. The NBA is a ‘grown man’s league’ where physicality will be trying and consistency will be key. Fultz will need to be mentally locked in, as he may also need to ramp up his speed of play, which at times can come off as too effortless. Nevertheless, his ceiling is sky high and any team that’s lucky enough to select him will likely be singing his praises for years to come.
Written by Athlete CRUSH Staff
Posted 2 June 2017