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5-star recruit Markelle Fultz gives Washington a likely NBA lottery pick

The five-star point guard is ready to announce his college choice at Under Armour's Elite 24 camp on Friday night.

Update: Fultz committed to Washington:

The meteoric rise of Markelle Fultz began as a sophomore at famed Maryland basketball powerhouse DeMatha Catholic. DeMatha is a school that knows how to identify talent: from '70s and '80s stars like Adrian Dantley and Danny Ferry to contemporary first-round NBA draft picks like Victor Oladipo and Jerian Grant, there aren't many high schools that have produced better basketball players. Just two years ago, it would have been unthinkable that Fultz's name could one day join that list.

Fultz did not make the varsity team as a sophomore at DeMatha, setting the stage for one of the more dramatic rises to stardom you'll see on the grassroots trail. After an outstanding spring and summer season playing on the Under Armour circuit, there's no debate that Fultz is a five-star prospect. He's been so impressive DraftExpress now has him as the No. 5 pick in its 2017 NBA Mock Draft.

Yes, that means the school that gets Fultz may only have him for a year. On Friday night, he's ready to make his decision at Under Armour's Elite 24 camp. With Kentucky, Louisville, Washington, Maryland and Arizona considered to be the finalists, one lucky school is about to land an aggressive, oversized point guard with a ceiling as high as just about any player in the class of 2016.

Fultz benefited from a growth spurt that took him from 6-foot to 6'4 over the last two summers, suddenly giving him NBA size for a point guard and the type of backcourt versatility at the college level that coaches love. He's an attack-first guard with a great feel for the game who will only get better as his jump shot improves.

Here's how Fultz would fit in with each of his finalists:


John Calipari and the Wildcats were late to the game on Fultz recruitment, but were thought to have an edge because Kentucky was supposedly his "dream school." This led 247 Sports' Jerry Meyer to say he would be "shocked" if Kentucky didn't land Fultz. That's been the assumption for many up to this point.

Things can change fast at Kentucky, as you might know. At the moment, the Wildcats' backcourt is extremely crowded at point guard. With sophomore Tyler Ulis and five-star freshmen Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray, Kentucky has three lead guards who could start for almost any team in the country. As it stands, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Calipari start all of them together this season.

Of course, a year from now, Murray is likely to be the NBA, and Briscoe and (to a lesser extent) Ulis could be, too. Fultz certainly has the size to play off the ball for Calipari, but is that really how he wants to showcase his talent to NBA teams?

It's worth noting that Fultz does have a connection through his trainer to former Kentucky center and current NBA star DeMarcus Cousins.


No one thinks of Louisville as a one-and-done destination, but Rick Pitino is hoping to change that. Louisville has strong ties to Fultz through assistant Kenny Johnson, who once recruited Oladipo to Indiana back when he was employed by the Hoosiers. Five-star Cardinals commit V.J. King is also from the D.C. area and has a good relationship with Fultz.

Since Russ Smith left campus, Louisville perpetually seems to be searching for scoring. That's something Fultz could provide right away playing alongside then-junior point guard Quentin Snider. Fultz has visited Louisville twice now. The Cardinals are a serious suitor.


It's funny that Washington is perceived to be coming on hot in the Fultz sweepstakes when the Huskies have actually been recruiting him longer than anyone. Where Kentucky was once the popular choice as recently as earlier this week, Washington is now the trendy pick on the night of Fultz's decision.

Washington put together a major recruiting class in 2015 led by shooting guard Dejounte Murray and big men Noah Dickerson and Marquese Chriss, each of whom were top-100 recruits, according to ESPN. That means Washington still needs a point guard and that Fultz would also have a solid supporting cast around him.

Scout's Evan Daniels went on record to say Washington is his pick. Will it hold?


This is the time for Maryland to capitalize on its momentum. The Terrapins will have a consensus top five this season with a dynamic five-man lineup that can score from every position. Maryland welcomes its own savior recruit as a freshman this season in center Diamond Stone. If Mark Turgeon wants to keep this thing rolling, he needs to continue finding success on the recruiting trail.

Point guard Melo Trimble thought long and hard about declaring for the NBA last season before deciding to return for his sophomore season. If he goes pro a year from now, the door is open for Fultz. Stone could be a one-and-done but that's far from guaranteed. With Jake Layman entering his senior year, Maryland will certainly need scoring, which Fultz could provide.


Sean Miller's history speaks for itself: He takes five-star recruits and wins with them at the college level before they jump to become NBA lottery picks. If it worked for Aaron Gordon and Stanley Johnson, why not Markelle Fultz?

The nice thing about Arizona is you know the supporting cast will always be strong. Miller likely doesn't have a one-and-done caliber prospect in the class of 2015, but he has four top-100 recruits led by shooting guard Allonzo Trier. Fultz took an official visit to Tucson recently, where the campus can sell itself, too.