UConn (& ex-Washington) A.C. Chillious agrees Fultz & IT a good fit
|Coaches Romar & Chillious (far L & R, resp.) with Fultz & co. at Washington|
Markelle Fultz has talked to Danny Ainge, wants to be first pick https://t.co/hoznrx1m78 (https://t.co/CGj7Rv8gHR) pic.twitter.com/lfr8wugPm8— CelticsLife.com (@CelticsLife) May 30, 2017
The young star is as close to a consensus number-one pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and he'll almost certainly be headed to the Boston Celtics as a result, who control that pick via a swap owed them by the Brooklyn Nets. Lots of questions continue to swirl around the young talent, however, who, like the previous year's top pick (Ben Simmons), did not perform especially well with the college team he played for (Washington and LSU for Fultz and Simmons, respectively).
In fact, Washington did so poorly last year, it ended up costing their coach, Lorenzo Romar, his job. That might be a first for a potential top pick, but in the odd ways basketball sometimes works, it sent one of Romar's best assistant coaches to the University of Connecticut to help with recruiting - and that coach, Raphael Chillious, had a lot to say about the season at Washington - and Fultz' fit with the Celts, too. Some excerpts (courtesy of the Hartford Courant's Dom Amore):
"Going into his junior year, [Fultz] wasn't ranked in anyone's top 300 in the country ... I know Markelle was going to blow up, but I'll be honest, I didn't know that night that by his senior year he would blow up the way he did … Every team he's played on, he cared about everything and everyone around him more than most kids ... He wanted to be great ...With him, every time I challenged him on something, whether it was in school or on the court, he rose to the occasion. Every single time. No fight. ... Deep inside his head he might not agree with you, but he was going to do what you said ... Kevin [Ollie] played with and against all the best players in the world. I think it was good for Markelle to hear how K.O. taught the game to him, and told him what a point guard is supposed to see. By that time, Markelle could play with anybody."
This is exactly the kind of praise you want to hear from someone who could be bitter the golden goose they recruited couldn't keep them employed. And regarding his fit with Isaiah Thomas, another Washington Huskies' alumnus?
"He's a perfect fit with Isaiah ... Isaiah is best when he doesn't have to make every play for himself and everyone. Markelle is perfect to play with him because when he doesn't have the ball in his hands, watch out. That's when he can really score the ball. Both of them become way more dangerous when they've got the other guy on the court. And early on as a rookie with a lot of expectations on him, it would take a lot of pressure off him to play with Isaiah."
It's always welcome to Celtics fans who also happen to be UConn fans to have their worlds overlap as they did in years past when we've had Huskies on the Boston squad, from Travis Knight up to Ray Allen, and while Chillious may have worked with Fultz with an entirely different Huskies program, his new home with the UConn variety adds an extra twist for those of us with overlapping basketball fandoms, and that's probably an understatement.
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