Markelle Fultz: The Return

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Markelle Fultz was the first pick of the 2017 NBA Draft and was set to play for the Philadelphia 76ers that upcoming season but only appeared in 14 games. Fultz averaged 23.2 ppg and 5.7 ast per game his freshman year of college at the University of Washington, so how is it that a college star player showed up in only 14 games, missing nearly an entire season? Some Espn Reporters would say “He went from a dominant college player to a rookie in distress.”

A severe hitch in his jumper left him open to criticism and made a lot of people wonder whether his career would be a bust. The first preseason game against the Orlando Magic, Fultz took his first three pointer ever. Although it might have been an historic shot for Fultz, you have to remember what kind of player he was prior to the NBA. Fultz was a 41 percent shooter from the 3-point range at the University of Washington. So because of his college performance, he faced a lot of adversity last year.

“I don’t think any 19-year old went through what I went through,” Fultz said on the first day of training camp.

This statement from Fultz may be looked at as exaggerated. But, much of the negative attention he received was for the wrong reasons.  

Many felt like his shooting troubles was a result of him trying to change the release of his shot, and others believed it had to do with his mentality. But Fultz wanted to hush up the rumors and make things clear about what led up to his shooting problems: “What happened last year was an injury, let me get that straight,” Fultz said. “It was an injury that happened that didn’t allow me to go through the certain paths that I needed to shoot the ball.”

That’s exactly what Fultz did when he was fully healthy again. After his shoulder injury, Fultz worked on his shot. He took 1000 shots a day without letting up. When asked about Fultz’s development NBA trainer Drew Hanlens stated, “I literally think that if he’s back to 100 percent, I think he’s an immediately an All-Star…”

A statement like that coming from one of the better and most respected skill development coaches in the league is huge. This should build Fultz confidence going into the 2018-2019 NBA season. It will be an exciting to see whether this young rising sophomore can continue to overcome last years distractions.   

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Tyrone Jackson is a junior at New England college studying communications. He is currently a sports writer for The New Englander.
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