UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft is not forgetting about his Maryland roots as he returned to the Prince George's County middle school he attended when he was younger.
Markelle Fultz stopped by James Madison Middle School in Upper Marlboro to give a big assist in a back-to-school giveaway where he distributed 100 backpacks and school supplies to students.
"Growing up in the area, I know people used to give bookbag giveaways to us," he said. "We didn't have very many, so it was always something I wanted to do - just come back and give back to the community once I made it."
Fultz, who attended DeMatha Catholic High School and attended the University of Washington for one season, was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers earlier this year.
How did it feel to return to his old school as an NBA player?
"It's weird really," he said. "Just coming back here I feel a lot bigger than I was walking through these halls. Just going through here, you see a lot of memories coming through here, and seeing the teachers that helped me throughout this way is just a blessing really. Just to be able to make it that far and just know they had a part of it."
Fultz joins a young and upcoming 76ers team that many fans and even the players have been calling "The Process." But Fultz said his journey to the NBA has also been a process in itself.
"Just going through middle school, going to a private school and then not making varsity my sophomore year - I had to play [junior varsity] - and I had to stick with that school really," Fultz said. "It was a process just getting in the gym every day. Also in the classroom, just working as hard as I could in the classroom too just to make sure my grades were right. It was a process going through that whole thing."
Fultz is getting along well with his Philadelphia teammates as the new season approaches later this fall.
"It's amazing really," he said. "Every time you step in the room with them guys or on the court or anywhere, you are going to have a good laugh and you are going to have a good time because they are good guys really, and it's just been a joy to just to be around them right now before the season starts. I just know they have the same mindset that I have coming into the season so it's a blessing."