Markelle Fultz’s career this far has had its fair shares of highs and lows. From being on top of the college basketball world, to being selected number one overall in the 2017 NBA draft, it looked as though Fultz was about to tear the league up. This is when things took an unexpected turn.
Fultz was born on May 29th, 1998 in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Ever since he was young, basketball was a huge part of his life. From an early age, he demonstrated the skills to be an NBA caliber player. In his junior year of high school, Fultz started to garner the attention of college scouts. In the offseason before his senior year of high school, Fultz verbally committed to the Washington Huskies.
During his time with the Huskies, Fultz made it apparent that he was the future of basketball. His averages of 23 points to go along with 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds made many analyst’s heads turn. Scouts across the league were interested in Fultz. Many considered him to be the consensus number one overall pick. After being named to the First-team All-Pac-12 and Third-Team All-American, Fultz was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers first overall in the 2017 NBA draft. He was preparing to take the league by storm.
Things took an unexpected turn when Fultz seemed to have a shoulder injury that simply wouldn’t heal correctly. Although he would go on to become the youngest player to ever record a triple double, Fultz’s time in a 76ers uniform was lackluster. He played a total of 33 games over the span of two seasons and was written off by many. He was given the label ‘bust’. After being diagnosed with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, a physical injury that affects the nerves between the neck and shoulder, Fultz began seeking any treatment he could find that would help fix his once beautiful jump shot. After disappointing fans and staff alike, Fultz was traded to the Orlando Magic on February 7, 2019.
Orlando would prove to be a perfect place for Fultz to land, as they were in the rebuilding phase while the 76ers were looking to win now. After rehabbing for a bit of the season, Fultz would come back and appear in 64 games for the Magic, starting 59 of them. He ended the season with averages of 12.1 points, 5.2 assists and 3.3 rebounds on 47.3% shooting from the field. This season showcased what type of playmaker Fultz can be, along with his offensive advancements. His mid-range jump shot was consistent for the most part and his slashing to the hoop capability opened up his game tons. Anyone watching him knew that he was showing some real promise.
Although this season didn’t quite shut all the haters up, it certainly instilled fear in the people who wrote him off. Showing talent on both sides of the ball, many should be ready to eat their words by this time next year when Fultz proves that any sad story can have a happy ending.