If you're a Sixers fan much like myself, you didn't do a whole lot of reading on Markelle Fultz before this weekend. He was expected to go No. 1 overall in the upcoming draft to the Boston Celtics, so Philadelphia fans focused their time and attention on the Josh Jacksons of the world.
But thanks to the handy work of Sam Hinkie and the gumption of Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers appear poised to go up and get Fultz via a deal with the Celtics.
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Which means it's time to learn as much as possible about Fultz and quickly.
A fun place to start this morning is a profile in the Washington Post by Kent Babb who spent the evening of the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery with Fultz and his crew. It wasn't as joyous an affair as you may think.
Perhaps you've heard rumblings that Fultz was cut from the varsity basketball team as a sophomore at DeMatha Catholic down in Maryland. And it's true. Fultz was indeed cut from the varsity squad but his coach now says he regrets the decision.
"In hindsight, I'd say I was wrong," Mike Jones, Fultz's coach at DeMatha, says of the decision.
Babb uses this anecdote in an attempt to give us a better look into the psyche of a kid who was doubted much of his life, even by the people closest to him like his mother, and has used those naysayers as motivation.
Almost immediately after being cut, Markelle had rededicated himself to on-court skills. At [Fultz's personal coach] Williams's instruction, he took 700 shots per day, spent hours swimming or boxing, committed to improving his footwork and vision and stretching the limits of his body.
Williams discovered a player motivated not by scholarships or riches but by revenge. So he used that.
Babb also shows how Markelle's mother is something of the anti-LaVar figure in his life. When LaVar Ball is all talk, Markelle's mom has a preference for action over words.
"I was raised to be respectful, cordial, not loud," she told the Post.
It's a solid story that will give you a glimpse into who Markelle Fultz is and what motivates him. And if the motivation-by-revenge angle proves to be true, Fultz will have Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics to use for the rest of his career.
Philly hopes it proves to be true.