The Huskies men’s basketball team held its annual preseason media event this afternoon. It was also the first time star freshman Markelle Fultz was made available to local media. Here is some of what he said during a 10-minute-or-so interview session.
(What’s the difference between playing to impress NBA scouts and playing to win?) “I don’t even think about the NBA. I think when people play like they already made it, they don’t play as hard as they can possibly play. They just think everybody is supposed to respect them, they don’t have to play defense, stuff like that. I play to win, each play, each possession. I hate losing. I’m not even worried about the NBA. I’m worried about this season, these guys, helping them out, become the best player they can be, and making sure I look the best I can.”
(On breaking UW’s NCAA tournament drought) “I don’t think we’re worried about that right now. We’re just worried about coming into practice each and every day, taking it day by day, and just being the best team we can be that day. If we do that, I think everything else is going to take care of itself.”
(On being this far from home) “It’s not hard for me because I’ve been traveling all my life. Just all the long trips. I was blessed enough to go to Chile. We went to Australia this year. So the only difference is, I don’t get to see my mom every night I come home. Just being able to FaceTime her with the technology that we have has been kind of easier. It’s just been a blessing to come this far and still be able to do what I love.”
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(What do you take pride in as a point guard?) “Making sure we stay together as a team, get a bucket each time down. That’s the biggest thing. Making the right play.”
(On being a good shot-blocker for a point guard) “I think it’s a pride thing with me. I never want to give up any layups. Some guards nowadays, when people get breakaways they put their head down like aw, man. I chase you down and try to block it each and every time. I might get dunked on a couple times but I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about making a play.”
(On what he takes most pride in as a player) “I think trying to be the best player on the court and make other people realize it. That’s not only scoring, that’s all aspects. Assists. I just try to do whatever I have to do to show people I’m the best player on the court, no matter where I’m at, if I’m in the rec or with the best players in the country.”
(On whether he’s a true point guard or a combo guard) “I still think now that I’m not a true point guard, because me and David Crisp (share time) at point guard and stuff like that. I think I’m just a guard. I don’t really a name. I can play the one, two or three. I really started noticing I could be good at the one when I saw I had a lot of mismatches at the one position. I could pass the ball, bring it up and break defenses even when some of my teammates back when I was younger couldn’t do it, and I could do it.”
(Has this program been what you thought it would be so far?) “It’s been even better. I didn’t expect it to be as good as this. I expected it to be good, but just coming here and seeing how well we get along together, the coaches and the players, and how we come in and every day and compete. We’re friends off the court, but as soon as we step on the court it seems like we hate each other because we’re going at it so much.”
(Anything surprise you?) “I didn’t think people were going to be this friendly out here. People back home go their own way, don’t say hello to you. But out here everybody loves each other. They go for all the sports out here. So I think that’s a good thing.”
(On what this team’s identity is) “I think we’re going on the right path. I don’t really have a picture. I think the way we’ve been coming in and practicing every day, working hard, I think we’ve got a good future.”