STONE HARBOR, N.J. -- The crowd chased after Markelle Fultz and swarmed around, people holding their phones high to capture a photo or video. The No. 1 pick looked around and knew exactly the message he wanted to relay to Sixers’ fans ahead of the upcoming season.
“Trust the process,” he said. “That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Needless to say, the onlookers erupted in cheers.
Fultz attracted throngs of fans every step he took Saturday at the Sixers Shore Tour in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. They sprinted across the field at the 82nd Street Recreation Center when he and Robert Covington arrived. Later, they followed closely behind asking for autographs, selfies and high fives when the pair of Sixers walked to an indoor basketball court for one-on-one games with kids.
“It’s pretty crazy, really,” Fultz said. “This atmosphere is just a little taste of hopefully what the season’s going to be like.”
The Sixers will begin training camp in September. Fultz is more than a month removed from spraining his left ankle in summer league. He said he “definitely” will be ready for the start of camp.
“I’m great,” he said. “I’m 100 percent. I could go out and play right now.”
Fultz is poised to be a key player in the Sixers’ success. The point guard, who led all freshmen in scoring last season with 23.2 points per game while at the University of Washington, reiterated he is comfortable playing on or off the ball to complement Ben Simmons in the backcourt. He noted he is willing to take on the role assigned to him by head coach Brett Brown.
“Whatever it takes to win,” Fultz said.
The rookie has a clear vision of the Sixers’ objectives this season. He has had the chance to get to know some of his new teammates and can tell they share a similar mindset.
“I think we’ve all got the same goal in mind: get back to the playoffs,” Fultz said. “That’s good to know everybody’s on the same page.”