Drafted first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Draft on Thursday, Markelle Fultz made NBA history – as the first Washington Husky to go No. 1.
But he also helped UW make history – as the first school ever to produce the #1 picks in the NBA and WNBA Draft in the same season.
Kelsi Plum left UW as the women’s all-time NCAA leading scorer, while Fultz left after a dazzling freshman season, in which he averaged 23 points, six assists, six rebounds per game while shooting 48% from the floor and 41% from three. All this, without a true Robin to his Batman.
ESPN Analyst Jay Bilas calls Fultz “the most complete offensive player in the draft. Passes. Shoots. Shoots from range. Finishes around the basket. And he’s got NBA size and length for a point guard. He’s the best pick-and-roll ball handler in the draft. He can go either way. Excellent passer, and especially an excellent passer in pick-and-roll situations.”
Daniel Shapiro has been the men’s strength and conditioning coach for the Husky men’s basketball team the last four years and has worked with both Plum and Fultz extensively.
Shapiro says Plum and Fultz are both gym rats, and Fultz’s game will translate perfectly to the NBA.
Shapiro would know. Before coming to UW, he was the strength and conditioning coach for the Sacramento Kings for eight seasons.
“Markelle is very smart, and he’s extremely athletic, deceivingly athletic. He’s very long, very mobile, pretty flexible, so really long, really powerful strides. So he’s a really strong guy, so he can get from point A to B very fast,” he said.
Only five schools have ever produced No. 1-overall picks in both the NBA and WNBA Draft: Duke, Louisville, LSU, Minnesota and Notre Dame.
UW will become the sixth, but the first to do it in the same year.
"It’s huge for the University of Washington,” Shapiro said. “And for those of us who’ve been able to have a hand in both of their development, they’re two, not just great athletes and teammates, but two great individuals."
Fultz is the 13th Husky drafted in the last 13 years, going back to Nate Robinson in 2005.
The previous high for a Husky draft pick: Bob Houbregs, who went 2nd overall in the 1953 Draft to the Milwaukee Hawks.
The other Top 10 picks in UW history: Marquese Chriss (8th in 2016), Terrence Ross (8th in 2012), Spencer Hawes (10th in 2007), Brandon Roy (6th in 2006) and Detlef Schrempf (8th in 1985).