Markelle Fultz was far from a nervous ball of energy. The 76ers’ first overall pick politely answered question after question at the team’s shootaround Wednesday, a little more than seven hours before his preseason debut.
“It actually hasn’t hit me that we have a game,” Fultz said of the 7 p.m. matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies at the Wells Fargo Center. “It’s just shootaround.
“Once we get to the arena, I think it will hit me a little bit more that … it’s my first preseason game. But I’m just enjoying the moment right now.”
Fultz has enjoyed being a student of NBA basketball, if you will. He arrives early to the team’s practice facility on most days. In addition to receiving treatment, Fultz believes this is the best way to get his mind right for practice. Then the 19-year-old stays late every day to shoot with the coaches and/or watch film.
He’s usually one of the last people to leave the facility.
“It’s always a thing of coming early and leaving late,” Fultz said.
It was always that way for him at DeMatha Catholic High School and the University of Washington.
He’s finding out the biggest adjustment to the NBA is having to learn things more quickly.
“They don’t wait on you,” he said.
The point/shooting guard has to learn the Sixers’ terminology, plays and defensive schemes and where teammates want to receive the ball.
His expectation for Wednesday night’s game is simple: Go out there and give his all.
Playing will enable him to see what he needs to work on. He was looking forward to defending Grizzlies standout Mike Conley. However, the veteran point guard will have the night off.
While it won’t hit him until he arrives at the arena, Fultz is still excited to play in his first NBA game.