Projected as the No. 1 pick throughout the draft process, Markelle Fultz was never really linked to the 76ers because of their draft position at No. 3. Yet, within a matter of 24 hours, Fultz was thrusted into the Sixers’ picture and ultimately found himself working out in front of the team after they all but completed a move up to No. 1.
With that said, let’s introduce Fultz and some things you may not have known about the newest piece to the Sixers’ puzzle:
He’s familiar with the area
Fultz’s hometown is in Maryland, slightly more than a two hour ride to the city. He’s been in the area multiple times, admitting so after his workout on Saturday. He also was asked about the Sixers hat he conveniently arrived wearing.
“I come to Philly a lot,” Fultz said. “Just showing the love for the city. I mean I’m out here, I want to show love.”
He also would enjoy playing somewhat close to home where “a lot of my family can come out and just show love. This city has great fans.”
Fultz lit up the Pac-12 in his only season, setting the highest scoring (23.2) for a rookie in 20 years. He led all freshman in scoring across the country and finished sixth overall nationally. His 579 points is a Washington freshman record. He picked up five 30-point games, including his first game where he finished 11-for-17 and 2-for-5 against Yale.
Connections mean a lot to him
There were bigger offers out there for Fultz coming out of high school, including perennial powers in Arizona and Louisville. Yet, Fultz chose a program in Washington that hasn’t made the tournament since 2011.
He had a close bond with their head coach, Lorenzo Romar, as well as an assistant coach who was also from Maryland.
For what it’s worth, Fultz said on Saturday that he and Embiid have spoken for quite some time now, “He’s a cool guy. He’s giving me tips and pointers and he’s pretty funny.”
Ugh, the dreaded injury factor. The Sixers have dealt far too much with damaged goods over the years, and while Fultz doesn’t have the label of being injury-prone, it’s important to note that he did deal with a knee injury that caused him to miss six games. It should also be noted, though, that the program was cautious with his injury, which likely is why he missed so much time for a sore knee.
High school success
Fultz has been around NBA talent his whole life, even just walking down the halls at DeMatha Catholic. The program has sent a handful of players to the highest level, including Victor Oladipo, former Sixer Jeremi Grant and former Duke standout Danny Ferry, among others.
Fultz didn’t play varsity until his junior campaign and has enjoyed his rise to the top of the charts.
“It was a dream I’ve had since I was a young kid,” Fultz said. “Like I said, it just shows how much hard work I put in. How dedicated I am to do what I do. I set goals for myself and I go out there and achieve them.”