Huskies incoming freshman Markelle Fultz named MVP and UW commit Michael Porter Jr. leads Team USA in scoring during the tournament.
Before joining the Huskies, Markelle Fultz spent the past week in Valdivia, Chile with the USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team.
Washington’s incoming freshman phenom not only brought back a gold medal in the U-18 FIBA Americas tournament, but his MVP performance on a star-studded squad that included the nation’s best young players elevated his much-anticipated arrival to Montlake.
Fultz finished with a team-high 23 points to lead USA to a 99-84 win over Canada in Saturday’s championship game. The Americans led 84-82 with 3:57 left before closing it out with a 15-2 run.
It was the fourth straight gold medal for Team USA U-18.
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Despite being saddled with four fouls, which limited him to 21 minutes, Fultz converted 10 of 16 shots, including three three-pointers. He also had five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
“It was a challenging game for him, because he almost immediately got into foul trouble,” Team USA coach Shaka Smart said. “It’s never easy to play aggressively when you’re in foul trouble, but he did a really good job of attacking when he needed to attack, then coming into the game with fouls and play without fouling out.”
Said Fultz: “I had to fight through foul trouble and I think the team did a good job of keeping the intensity up, even though we were down a little bit,” he said. “So I think we played together, we stayed together and we played hard.”
Fultz averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.2 steals during the five-game tournament. He shot 54.7 percent from the field (29 of 53), 33.3 percent on three-pointers (6 of 18) and converted all five of his free throws.
“For me to get MVP means a lot to me, because there’s a lot of good players here,” Fultz said. “It’s truly and honor.”
Michael Porter Jr., who verbally committed to the Huskies, led Team USA U-18 in scoring during the tournament with 15.8 points per game. He also averaged 5.6 rebounds and shot 53.3 percent (32 of 60) from the field.
“It’s amazing,” said Porter who had 15 points and eight rebounds in the championship game. “I’m happy for this team. One-time gold medalist — I think it’s all of our first times so, we are just happy to be in this situation.”
Fultz returns to Seattle to join the Huskies for a week of practice before departing to Australia with Washington, which plays a handful of games in early August.
Porter will play his senior season at Nathan Hale High.