Markelle Fultz, Washington’s star guard and the league’s leading scorer, was voted first-team all-Pac-12 and named to the all-freshmen team by Pac-12 coaches, the conference announced Monday afternoon.
If only he could actually suit up for the Huskies on Wednesday in the Pac-12 tournament.
UW coach Lorenzo Romar said Fultz, who has missed five of the Huskies’ past seven games due to a sore knee, was scheduled to be re-evaluated by doctors on Monday before his status for Wednesday’s game could be determined.
Romar said last week that he thought it was “unlikely” Fultz would return for the Pac-12 tournament — UW opens with an 8:30 p.m. Wednesday game against USC in Las Vegas — but said Monday that he simply won’t know until doctors examine Fultz’s knee.
The coach said the injury isn’t any more serious than originally believed, and that it isn’t considered “serious” in nature. Fultz missed road games at Colorado and Utah before returning to play home games against Arizona State and Arizona, then missed UW’s final three games — all on the road — at Washington State, UCLA and USC.
“They know exactly what they feel is supposed to happen or what may not happen in a certain amount of time,” Romar said. “Like we had said before, he came back and didn’t quite respond the way they wanted, so we just backed off a little longer.”
Asked if Fultz’s knee has any structural damage, Romar replied: “Just for Markelle and everybody else, that’s all I’m going to say on it. The less you say, the more it raises, ‘well, what’s going on? I know they’re hiding something.’ Nobody’s hiding anything. He’s just not ready to go yet, until we find out (in) this meeting (with doctors).”
If Fultz doesn’t play, and the Huskies (9-21, 2-15 Pac-12) lose to end their season, he will finish the year with averages of 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 points in 25 games. According to UW, Fultz’s scoring average is the highest by a Pac-12 player at the end of the regular season since California’s Ed Gray averaged 24.8 in 1996-97.
Bob Houbregs, who averaged 25.6 points per game in 1952-53, is the only player in UW history with a higher single-season scoring average than Fultz.
The Huskies also had the Pac-12’s leading scorer last season: guard Andrew Andrews, who averaged 21.2 points per game and was also a first-team all-league selection.
Fultz was UW’s lone end-of-year honoree this season. Oregon guard Dillon Brooks won Pac-12 Player of the Year, UCLA guard Lonzo Ball won Freshman of the Year, Oregon forward Jordan Bell won Defensive Player of the Year, USC forward Chimezie Metu won Most Improved, and Arizona’s Sean Miller was voted Coach of the Year.
Three other freshmen — Ball, UCLA teammate TJ Leaf and Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen — joined Fultz on the 10-player first team. Washington State forward Josh Hawkinson, a senior from Shoreline, was voted to the five-player second team. WSU guard Malachi Flynn, a Tacoma native and Bellarmine Prep alumnus, was an honorable mention on the all-freshmen team.