Markelle Fultz went to college (for one year) at Washington State. He’s going to grad school at the Sixers’ practice facility in Camden.
“I love it really, walking about, having fans here yelling ‘Trust the Process,’ having the team be so young and we have some vets, I feel welcome,” Fultz said this week. “It’s almost like going back to college, having people around all the time. I am excited.”
It’s true, the Sixers’ roster — aside from a handful of veterans like Omeka Okafor, J.J. Redick and Chris Humphries and a few others — resembles a college attendence sheet.
A total of 11 — out of 20 — players on the training camp roster are college age, surely making Philly one of the youngest teams in the NBA for the fourth straight year.
Even Ben Simmons, who famously criticized the NBA’s one-and-done policy over a year ago before he was drafted first overall agreed it was a college environment. One can only assume he was talking about the camaraderie, not going to class.
“It’s easy for us to relate because we are younger,” Simmons said, likely also referring to Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Justin Anderson, Furkan Korkmaz and other players in their early twenties. “It could be anything from cars to haning out, and having that chemistry for us is great.”
One of the team’s most experienced veterans, Amir Johnson, became the last player drafted out of high school back in 2005. He knows what it’s like to be young and in the NBA, and it was the youth culture as well as the team’s potential that attacted him to sign here.
“We are a team thats definitely on the rise,” Johnson said. “We definitely have goals set on this team and it’s a team that has been on their heals for the last couple years and are hungry. Hungry to win just like the city is. I feel the buzz around the city man, going to Target or WalMart people are yelling ‘Trust the Process!'”
Johnson also agrees with Simmons about college basketball’s one-and-done requirement.
“You can always take online classes like I did,” he said. “If you’ve got it you’ve got it.”