Fultz working hard at being a leader for UW

Markelle Fultz is such a laid-back and personable guy, it's hard to sometimes spot the competitive streak in him. On Friday, the UW freshman phenom talked about having to step up and be a leader, and how he knows he can't always be the nice guy out on the floor as the Huskies prepare to host UCLA Saturday night.

How do you know Lonzo Ball? - "I met him a couple of times at camps and stuff like that. We're not really, really close, but we know each other."

Met at the McDonald's game? - ”Yeah.”

How do you treat these big matchups? - “I don't really worry about them. I worry about more the team. If I do that (everything) will take care of itself. That's mostly what I do with everything that goes on. I don't ever worry about myself. I'm more worried about doing what I can do for the team to win. And usually if I do that, it makes myself look even better."

On Lonzo Ball - “He's a great player. He's a good point guard. He can pass the ball really well. He can score the ball. He sees the game good. So I got a lot of respect for him.”

Tough practice on Thursday? - “I think we were mad that we had the lead and we felt good about it and then we didn't come out with the W at the end. Just seeing the improvement that we had in the last couple of games and to go up on them at halftime and to not come out with the W was frustrating. At least we know we're improving. And we know what we need to do. We just got to work on finishing games now. Going into practice we just focused on that and just really focused on ourselves and becoming a better team and finishing games."

On UCLA - “I don't think it'll be hard. With our team, we're talented. We're long and athletic. We've been playing a lot better. I think we'll do good. We're ready for the challenge. I think we'll do good.”

How has this season been - “I think it's been good. Of course I wish we would have had more wins, but everything happens for a reason as my mom always tells me. I'm just blessed to have this opportunity to go through this with this team and become a better leader, which is helping me. And just really, I like challenges and I just think this is another challenge in my life. I still have belief."

Difference between wins and losses - “I think we're beating ourselves. All the games we lost, we're really beating ourselves just because we didn't execute the scout or we fell asleep on defense and let somebody go back door or we just didn't play hard. It's just little stuff that we keep doing to ourselves that not gives us our best chance to win the game. I think that we got to do it for both halves. It's either we do it for one half or 75 percent of the game. We have yet this year to have a full game where we played our best. I think that's really what's been hurting us."

How hard is it to get in a guy’s face? Is that in you? - “It’s tough. Me being a friendly guy and I’m cool with everybody, so of course it’s tough. But to be the best player I can be and be the best team we can possibly be I have to do that. It’s something I’ve been learning since my senior year in high school. In order to be the best possible team and player I can be I have to do that. In order to be a leader, most leaders are not liked, so it’s something I’ve been learning and doing. It’s been tough but I think I’ve been doing it better and better each and every day.”

Coach Romar hinted that you guys all get along and you’re nice guys. Can that hurt you sometimes as a group when you need to dig in and challenge each other? - “Sometimes it can. Other times it keeps us together. When somebody’s yelling at us we stay together. It hurts us sometimes, but when it comes down to the end we know that we can get on each other on the court and after we can still be cool and still hang out and stuff. It’s good both ways.”

Have you made the decision to be one-and-done? - “I haven’t even looked ahead. I’m just worried about this season and worried about getting this next game out of the way. That’s all I’ve been worried about.”

Will how the season end up impact your decision? - “I haven’t even thought about that. At the end of the year I’m going to sit down with my family and everything and then think about that.”

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