Why Washington’s Markelle Fultz Might Be Next Year’s Number One PickEmily Muhleman writes about sports in the state of Washington. While she studied at Washington State, she keeps close tabs on the state’s other collegiate teams, including the Washington Huskies, the Seattle Redhawks, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
The Washington Huskies might be a middle-of-the-pack team right now, losing their season opener to Yale and dropping two straight games against TCU, but it isn’t keeping the crowds away from home games. The reason? A 6-5 freshman guard named Markelle Fultz.
A five-star recruit out of DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland, Fultz chose Washington over 21 other schools that included Xavier, Texas, Maryland, North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgetown, Arizona, Kansas, and Louisville. He averaged 19 points as a senior and was named MVP at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championship. What makes his story even more impressive is the fact that he started playing varsity ball only as a junior, being assigned to DeMatha’s junior varsity team as a sophomore. He joined the Huskies as part of the eighth-ranked 2016 recruiting class, which included three other ESPN 100 players.
Fultz started the season strong in Washington’s loss to the Yale Bulldogs, logging 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Prior to the November 30 game against TCU, he averaged 23 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. These are all impressive numbers for any NCAA player; what makes them all the more impressive is that Fultz is a true freshman. Against TCU, he had a highlight play where he crossed over a defender before dunking over another with one hand on a fast break. This shows Fultz is not just a scorer – he can also be very entertaining.
Draft Express has ranked Fultz as the possible number one pick in next year’s NBA Draft on the strength of his performance so far. I wouldn’t bet against it even if Washington doesn’t get into the NCAA Tournament. After all, if Ben Simmons failed to lead LSU to the Big Dance and was still drafted first overall, Fultz could do it too.