Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, Michael Porter Jr. and being the Hero
We could potentially witness two consecutive seasons where the number one overall pick in the NBA draft doesn’t make the NCAA tournament.
Markelle Fultz hasn’t had the same success and spotlight on him as Lonzo Ball, but he fits the bill of the NBA’s archetype guard for a modern NBA. His offensive skill set combined with A++ athleticism make him a favorite to have his name called first, even with his poor collegiate record.
So how does Fultz end up in Washington of all places and not some superpower like Kansas or Kentucky?
Hiring Fultz’s dad on the coaching staff certainly helped, but both Fultz and Ben Simmons have another unfortunate connection: They both tried to be the hero.
There are whisperings that those in Fultz and Simmons’ camps pushed the young stars to go to Washington and LSU respectively, two notoriously terrible programs in hopes to elevate them and have them return a school to relevancy while reaping all the credit. They also wouldn’t have to worry about competing with another star for playing time.
Both Washington and LSU fired their coaches within a year of missing the NCAA tournament.
As appealing as that idea sounds, you need structure to grow and succeed as a player. Washington and LSU had none.
And we could be seeing this happen again.
Michael Porter Jr. is the current number one overall prospect in high school hoops. He recently committed to Mizzou: A program even worse and less storied than Washington and LSU both.
It’s likely too late for Porter Jr. to change his mind. For all of us hoping to get an extended look at him, let’s hope playing the hero starts to pay off.