Fultz On The Rise, Talks Terps Offer

It’s been quite an offseason for DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) class of 2016 combo guard Markelle Fultz, to say the least. The 6-foot-4, 155-pounder has claimed about nine verbal offers since the first live recruiting period began, with a slew of other “name” programs closely monitoring him.

It’s been quite an offseason for DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) class of 2016 combo guard Markelle Fultz, to say the least. The 6-foot-4, 155-pounder has claimed about nine verbal offers since the first live recruiting period began, with a slew of other “name” programs closely monitoring him.

Not bad for a guy who hasn’t even played a varsity minute.

“I’m truly blessed to have these programs interested in me and offering me,” said Fultz, who picked up his first offer from High Point and has since added DePaul, Xavier, Miami, Washington, Cincinnati, Rhode Island, Towson and, most recently, Maryland. “Some people might be saying I haven’t proven anything yet, but I feel like playing jayvee and just getting that experience and playing time, that was right for me. And honestly, I don’t think I have to prove anything. It just shows if you stay humble, if you put in the work, and you give it your all, it’s going to pay off.”

In addition to his stated offers, Fultz said he’s heard from Louisville, North Carolina, South Florida, Connecticut, Michigan State, Ohio State and others. Most of those programs, in addition to those that have already pulled the trigger, saw him perform at open gyms and on the summer AAU circuit for the D.C. Blue Devils and eventually D.C. Premier 17U.

“The offseason has been great right now. I’ve been working really, really hard, getting better -- and it’s starting to show a little bit,” Fultz said. “I’ve changed my shot, and now I’m getting the ball over my head and elevated. I’ve also been working on my ball-handling a lot too. But I think I’m really good at beating people off the dribble, that’s what I do best. I think I can beat anyone off the dribble.

“But I consider myself an all-around player, honestly. I give it my all on both ends, offense and defense, and then ball-handling, passing and rebounding. I’m a versatile player.”

Fultz said most college assistants have told him he can play either the “1” or the “2,” with his true role to be determined after he arrives on campus. The DeMatha guard admitted he’d like to play point, but is well aware that his height (6-4 and growing) might dictate that he’ll be more of a shooting guard.

“Honestly, the position, the system, they don’t really matter to me too much,” Fultz said. “I think I can fit into any system – I can run the pick-and-roll, dribble drive, get up and down the court, Princeton offense… I think that’s what separates me is that I am that versatile. I can see myself anywhere.”

While Fultz has grown up in the DMV area, he said he’s not a fan of any one particular team, either.

“I’ll watch any team that’s on TV,” he said. “I just love basketball and college basketball. I’ll just look for a game and watch, it doesn’t matter who it is.”

Fultz does have an early affinity for the school that just offered Sept. 20, however. He said he visited College Park, Md., for the first time back in August and then returned to Maryland last weekend with his mother for another sit-down with head coach Mark Turgeon and assistant Cliff Warren.

“Maryland, that was a big thing, really, really nice. I was blessed to have that one because it’s the local school and they’re looking to accomplish a lot,” Fultz said. “What happened was I went in to a meeting with my mom, and we talked to Coach Turgeon and Coach Cliff. Coach Turgeon talked about what he saw in me, how he liked my work ethic, how the school was unique and how I’d be a great fit there. Then he said he wanted to offer me. It was big.”

Fultz went on to say he thought Turgeon came across as genuine, and his mother liked him as well. He said he believes Maryland is moving in the right direction and plans to catch a game at the Comcast Center this year.

And speaking of the Comcast Center…

“After I met with Coach Turgeon I actually met my trainer and we worked out in Maryland’s gym,” Fultz said. “It was really nice. They have that new screen up there, and it’s awesome. It’s an awesome facility.”

The DeMatha junior saw a couple current Terps as well. He already knows Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley, while he spotted a few other players in the weight room.

“I didn’t really get a chance to talk to them because they were in the middle of working out,” Fultz said. “But I said, ‘What’s up.’ I’m sure I’ll get to meet them at some point.”

Back in August, Fultz had a chance to tour College Park. He said that visit impressed him as well.

“The campus was really nice, but what I thought was really good about it is I got to see some of the academic buildings,” Fultz said. “I want to major in business, and Maryland has a really good business program. I like that about them.”

The only other school he’s seen so far is Xavier. He said he liked the intimate feel of the Musketeers’ campus, how easy it was to navigate, and how they have a 24-hour open gym “where I can shoot anytime I want.”

Fultz doesn’t have any firm visit plans coming up, but he admitted Louisville and Cincinnati are two schools he wants to see soon.

“But right now I’m just taking things in right now, seeing where this [recruiting] goes,” Fultz said. “I mainly just want to do well in school and keep working on my game, and then the rest will fall into place.”

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