Without Murray and Chriss, who play for the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns respectively, Fultz, who turns 19 on May 29, was left to lead a team that was void of proven talent and returned one full-time starter.

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As Markelle Fultz nears the end to perhaps the most brilliant and perplexing season in Washington men’s basketball history, it’s important to remember the conditions that created the unlikely reunion between the Upper Marlboro, Md., native and the Huskies.

So let’s rewind to the summer of 2015 when the five-star, 6-foot-5 guard who prepped at DeMatha Catholic High School committed to UW.

Among the first to congratulate Fultz via Twitter was Dejounte Murray who wrote: “Welcome To The Family Little Bro @MarkelleF. Now Go Enjoy Your Last High School Year And See You Next Season.”

It wasn’t a promise, but Fultz envisioned playing with Murray and Marquese Chriss, two UW freshmen at the time who unexpectedly landed in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft.

“When I committed I was thinking they were going to stay, but they had great seasons and deserve to be where they’re at right now,” Fultz said. “I’m not mad at them. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes I do think how crazy it would have been if they had stayed.

“I think we would be No. 1 in the country. We would have gone to the (NCAA) tournament and won the tournament. I know it.”

Without Murray and Chriss, who play for the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns respectively, Fultz, who turns 19 on May 29, was left to lead a team that was void of proven talent and returned one full-time starter.

What ensued during the 2016-17 season can best be described as mixed results.

Fultz, one of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden award that’s given to the nation’s most outstanding player, proved to be the star worthy of the incredible hype that preceded him to Montlake.

His 23.2 scoring average is the highest in the Pac-12 in 20 years and ranks second in UW history to legendary Bob Houbregs who scored 25.6 points per game in 1952-53.

While playing a team-high 35.7 minutes, Fultz led Washington with 5.9 assists per game and was second on the squad with a 5.7 rebounding average, 40 steals and 30 blocks.

When the all-Pac-12 honors were released Monday, Fultz was the only UW player recognized, which illustrates the Herculean task he had of carrying the Huskies every night.

League coaches selected him to the 10-man all-Pac-12 team as well as the Pac-12 all-freshman squad.

Also on Monday, Fultz, who is considered the top pick in this summer’s NBA draft, underwent a undergo a medical evaluation to determine if his college basketball career is essentially over.

Washington trainers were scheduled to test his sore right knee that’s caused him to miss five of the past seven games.

If Fultz receives medial clearance, he’ll return at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when No. 11 seed Washington (9-21) plays No. 6 USC (23-8) in the first-round of the Pac-12 Tournament at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Without Fultz, the Huskies are unlikely to snap a school-record 12-game losing streak. And a loss this week would end the worst season at Washington since the Huskies went 5-22 in 1993-94.

In basketball more than any other sport, a dominant player can influence the outcome in games.

And yet, Fultz, arguably the most talented player to every wear a Huskies jersey, guided UW to a 2-16 Pac-12 record – its worst record since the conference began playing 18 games in 1978-79.

So how did Fultz flourish, while the Huskies floundered?

“Our record and the absence of wins had nothing to do with him,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “You can’t point to Markelle.

“We just didn’t – all of us – coaches and players didn’t get it done. As the season went on when conference started, we didn’t shoot the ball well. … There were probably 10 games that we had a chance to win and didn’t get it done. That just means that we weren’t good enough to get it done.”

Fultz will leave behind a legacy that’ll be dissected for many years.

He’s the only NCAA Division I guard to average at least 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds while shooting at least 40 percent in the past 25 years.

In eight games, Fultz came close to becoming the first player in UW history to notch a triple double and six times he scored at least 30 points, including a personal-best 37 during an 85-83 overtime win against Colorado.

“There hasn’t been a better guard in the Pac-12 who is more NBA-ready than Markelle Fultz,” Pac-12 Networks analyst Don MacLean said. “What he does out there is next-level stuff.”

And yet with Fultz, Washington beat just two teams (Colorado, 18-13, and Cal State Fullerton, 16-13) that have a winning record.

Fultz’s heroics couldn’t prevent a 41-point loss to UCLA or a 27-point beatdown from Gonzaga. Even with the best player on the court, Washington lost at home in nonconference battles against Yale and Nevada.

As the defeats mounted, Fultz received criticism from Pac-12 basketball analyst Kevin O’Neill, who chastised the UW guard for “bad body language” and “low energy.”

Romar countered and said Fultz is ultra competitive, but “isn’t one who shows you how he’s feeling.”

“I’ll never let losing get to me,” Fultz said. “If anything I’ll learn from it. I was a little bit mad, but I realized that this team is young and we have so much upside that it’s unbelievable.

“I’ve seen what we can do when we’re at our best. Sometimes we just have lapses.”

Despite the setbacks, Fultz said he’s a better basketball player today than he was when the season started.

“I’m more of a leader and much more vocal,” the soft-spoken Fultz said while laughing. “I’m better at being aggressive on the court and playmaking. I’m better at reading defenses and the screen and roll.

“My game is still improving and I’ve got a lot to work on.”

Off the court, Fultz said he matured while battling through personal tragedy that included the passing of his maternal great-grandmother who he described as “my rock.”

Even though he’s nearly 3,000 miles away from home, Fultz never felt homesick because his mother, Ebony, and long-time trainer Keith Williams made frequent trips to Seattle.

“People get homesick when they’re somewhere they don’t want to be,” Fultz said. “I love it here. … It’s been better than I expected.”

Fultz, who chose UW over No. 7 Arizona (27-4) and No. 10 Louisville (24-7), said he would make the same decision knowing everything he knows about this season.

“My mom would always say everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I believe God has a plan for everything.”

Ebony told Markelle the same thing when he was a 10th grader and didn’t make the varsity team. It’s a popular story from his past that’s been retold repeatedly during Fultz’s rapid ascent to stardom.

He trusted his mom then and believes her even more today as a season that promised more than it delivered comes to a close.

“It’s gone by a lot faster than I thought,” Fultz said. “I remember when we were in Australia (in August) and now we’re at the end of the season. It’s been real quick.

“Everybody said it was going to go by quick, but I think it went by a lot quicker than I was expecting. I’m not really ready for all of this to end just yet.”