Stop Worrying About Markelle Fultz

Markelle Fultz is likely done for the year. Philadelphia 76ers general manager Bryan Colangelo gave a very blanketed quote when asked about Fultz’s status. “There’s always a chance that he’s going to be out there soon, and there’s a chance that he’s not going to play this year.” He said. The news of Fultz potentially sitting out the rest of the year has sent the NBA Twitter world into a frenzy. The word bust is being thrown around and people are already to lump Fultz with Kwame Brown and Anthony Bennett. But let’s make one thing clear.

Markelle Fultz will be just fine

The day he entered his name into the 2017 NBA Draft, Markelle Fultz received the criticism. “Washington didn’t even make the tournament,” is what many unknowledgeable fans would say. There’s truth to that, but neither did Ben Simmons a year before. The reason is not their fault. If you’re going to point to anything, point to the coaching first. Look at what Will Wade and Mike Hopkins are doing at LSU and Washington, respectively. They both have those programs trending in the upward direction for the first time in awhile. A good coach goes a long way at the college level.

Playing on the West Coast, and not in prime time a lot, left Fultz in the dark most of his year in college. Not many people on the East Coast stayed up to watch a bad Washington team lose in the Pac-12. That is completely understandable. But lack of knowledge or exposure doesn’t make a player less talented.

What’s going on with Fultz is very uncharacteristic, and the cause for concern by Sixer fans is understandable. Even more so when you remember what Philadelphia gave up to draft him. How does a player who has been playing basketball his whole life “forget” how to shoot? The more Fultz stays off the court, the more questions arise and the more people demand to see practice videos of him shooting. The situations are different, but Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons didn’t play their first seasons either. Now Fultz isn’t sitting due to injury, but let’s not turn our backs on a 19 year old so quickly.

It’s all bizarre. Colangelo said today that Fultz can’t shoot outside the paint. That screams scary, but it also seems a little unrealistic Regardless, as you’ve been doing for literally years now, Trust the Process. Don’t jump to negativity before year one is over. If there’s one person who will work his way back, its Fultz.

Markelle Fultz worked his way to the national spotlight. He didn’t grow up a highly touted recruit and prospect. He wasn’t playing varsity basketball as an 8th grader or some of the crazy things you hear top recruits doing at young ages. Markelle Fultz was playing JV basketball as a sophomore. He transformed himself from a kid playing JV basketball to a top 10 recruit nationally through his work ethic. He went from unknown to #1 pick by getting in the gym. The same work ethic that will get this bizarre shot dilemma solved. Take a deep breath, Philly.

Upset Week Shows How Much Parity is in College Basketball

It was a crazy week in college basketball this past week. No team in the Top 10 was safe, and we saw a number of highly ranked teams fall. It’s early in the year, and most teams are trying to find their identities, but we are seeing how wide open the NCAA basketball season is this year. Aside from about three teams, the rest of the pack is jumbled together trying to figure themselves out.

Florida Looks Like Two Different Teams

It started Monday with Florida’s loss to the rival FSU Seminoles at home. This loss wasn’t terrible, as Florida State came into the game undefeated, and will likely move into the Top 25 with the win. But after taking Duke to the wire in the championship of the PK80, expectations were raised for Mike White’s club. The Gators’ week got even worse two days later when they suffered another loss. This time to University of Loyola-Chicago. What we learned this week is Florida needs to make shots to compete on an elite level. This may sound obvious but look at how good they looked when they made shots vs Duke, and how bad they looked when they didn’t against Florida State.

Notre Dame Falls in South Bend

The weirdness continued Tuesday with #9 Notre Dame losing to Ball State in South Bend. The Irish got their normal contribution from potential ACC Player of the Year, Bonzie Colson. The issue was, that they will only be as good as Colson’s supporting cast. Senior Matt Farrell chipped in with 14, and two other starters finished in double digits, but the lack of bench hurts ND. Playing only three bench players for a total of 27 minutes is not a recipe for long term success. The Irish could use some reliable bench help to sure up their rotation before the head into ACC play.

Is Arizona Back?

After Notre Dame suffered their fate, Texas A&M followed up with a loss to Arizona. On paper this loss is not nearly as big of an upset, but Arizona is still going through an identity check. The Wildcats looked to answer a few questions though, and got great support, in addition to another strong game from DeAndre Ayton. The Cats looking to trending upward after this week, but nonetheless this is still another Top 10 upset right now. A&M may have wowed us opening night, but maybe we got greedy with how good they looked

Kansas Gets Exposed

Safe to say it was a bad week for the #2 ranked team in the country. It started Wednesday night when Washington came in and had the perfect game plan for the Jayhawks. It ended Sunday when Arizona State, maybe the hottest team in the country, came into Lawrence and won, something that doesn’t ever happen. Washington’s Mike Hopkins devised a perfect zone defense that contested KU around the three point arc all night long. The two loss week left head coach Bill Self calling this team the softest he’s ever had here at Kansas. It really showed how reliant Kansas is to making shots from deep. Similar to Florida, if they’re falling they look great. But if they’re not, who knows. Kansas could really use Bill Preston, or even Silvio De Sousa to help sure up their front court issues. Meanwhile, for Arizona State…

Down Goes #1

The week of upsets would not be complete without the number one team falling. The young Duke Blue Devils lost their first ACC game of the year, walking into BC and losing to the Eagles. All credit should go to Jim Christian and staff for great execution. Ky Bowman’s 30 point effort and near triple-double doesn’t hurt either. Duke won’t suffer a ton from this, it will likely be a better learning curve for a young team that was getting talked about as maybe going undefeated. It does show however, that every team has their holes, and no one is a sure thing.

So that wraps up the week. It will likely have Villanova, Michigan State, Duke, Arizona State (yes, really) and Wichita State in the new top 5. This feels like a year that will have a lot of fluctuation within the top part of the polls, but we may not see another week that compares to this week.