University of Washington one-and-done freshman Markelle Fultz, who many predict will be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has signed a marketing deal with Nike.
“Blessed and thankful to become a part of the @nikebasketball family!!!” Fultz announced on Twitter.
With the move, Fultz became the first player in the 2017 Draft to ink a deal with Nike, which also signed the last two No. 1 picks, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ben Simmons.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed but according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it is a multi-year pact.
Fultz’s contract comes after Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour did not pursue endorsement agreements with the Draft’s other superstar point guard, Lonzo Ball, because of his outspoken father LaVar Ball’s insistence that they license his Big Baller Brand in any deal.
Fultz, a 6-5 guard, led the Pac-12 Conference in scoring this season, averaging 23.2 points, a team-high 5.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds.
He set a school freshman record with 579 points this year and was selected to the All-Pac-12 First-Team.
If not for Washington’s poor 2-16 conference record, Fultz – who sat out six games with an injured knee – would have been considered for the Pac-12 Player of the Year award.
Bleacher Report’s Chad Ford predicts that the ultra-talented Fultz will be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 Draft.
“The last three years of Markelle Fultz’s basketball career have been nothing short of amazing,” former UW coach Lorenzo Romar said. “He has made one of the quickest improvements of any athlete I’ve seen in a long time.”
Fultz, the No. 7 high school recruit in the 2016 class, averaged 19.1 points and 8.8 rebounds for DeMatha Catholic HS (Hyattsville, MD) as a senior, leading the team to the Maryland Private School League Championship.
He set the school’s single-season assist record while being named the 2016 All-USA Maryland Player of the Year.
Fultz also was the leading scorer at the Under Armour All-American camp at 22.8 points a game.
It was an amazing high school career for Fultz who played on DeMatha’s junior varsity team as a sophomore.
“Playing junior varsity really helped me develop my skills and confidence in the game, and it also made me humble,” Fultz said at the 2015 Under Armour Elite 24 in Brooklyn, New York.
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