Markelle Fultz, the star Huskies guard who led the Pac-12 in scoring this season, announced on Friday that he will enter the 2017 NBA draft.
Fultz, a freshman, is projected by many outlets as the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. Despite Washington’s worst season in 23 years -- the Huskies finished 9-22 overall after a loss to USC on Wednesday in the Pac-12 tournament -- Fultz posted one of the best statistical seasons in school history, averaging 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds in 25 games. He missed six of UW’s final eight games -- and the last four in a row -- due to a sore knee.
“It’s been an honor to play in front of the Husky fans and I really appreciate all of the support you guys have given me,” Fultz said in a statement. “After sitting down with my mom and the coaching staff, I’ve made the decision to enter the NBA draft. Although the season hasn’t gone as planned, it’s really truly been a blessing to be here. I’ve learned a lot of lessons on and off the court, especially from coach Romar and his coaching staff. I’m always going to be a Husky for life.”
A native of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Fultz prepped at powerhouse DeMatha Catholic and chose the Huskies over offers from Kentucky, Louisville and Arizona, among many others. He was the most touted recruit in school history, and has the chance to be the first No. 1 pick in school history, too.
“The last three years of Markelle Fultz’s basketball career have been nothing short of amazing,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said in a statement. “He has made one of the quickest improvements of any athlete I’ve seen in a long time. Markelle has decided to enter the NBA draft and we totally support his decision. We appreciate him giving his all, on and off the court, while he was part of our program and I will enjoy watching him play for many years to come. Even though he was only here for a short time, I truly believe he will be a Husky for life and that started before he even enrolled at UW as he went and supported our women’s team last year in the postseason in Maryland. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to following what will likely be an exciting career.”