Washington star freshman Markelle Fultz finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists off the bench during his collegiate debut.
Markelle Fultz is tired.
If you push him, Washington’s star freshman guard will reluctantly admit a jam-packed summer schedule that included a slew of prep All-Star games, training with the USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team and making a MVP-performance for the Americans in the U-18 FIBA Americas tournament in Chile has taken it’s toll.
“My body might say it’s physically, but I’m always ready to play no matter what time of day it is or any time,” he said. “If we had a game right now, I’d go play a game. That’s just how I am. I just love the game. I could play it all day. I think my body might say it is (tired), but mentally I think I’m fine.”
But he wasn’t fine. Not a few weeks ago. And that’s why Washington men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar shut him down and kept him out of practice for several days.
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“He was getting a little sore so we rested him,” Romar said. “He had been out and he missed a number of practices.
“He’s working his way back up. When we play next week, I’m sure he’ll be able to go 40 minutes, but tonight we were only able to play him the minutes that he played. He makes a difference with our team there’s no doubt about it.”
Fultz came off the bench in Thursday’s 109-103 exhibition win over Western Washington and finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and block to offset three turnovers in 23 minutes.
He saved his best for the final minutes.
When Washington trailed 87-84 with 4:21 left, Fultz sank a jumper, drove baseline and sank a reverse layup and canned two free throws during a personal 6-0 run that gave the Huskies a 90-87 lead at the 3:29 mark and put them ahead for good.
“It was a great experience for me,” said Fultz who displayed several of the qualities that makes him a projected top-3 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. “We got a lot that we can work on. It was good that we came out with the W. I think this is a very talented team on both ends of the floor and we have a chance to do big things this year.”
Here’s video of Fultz’s postgame interview.