Markelle Fultz is a 6’4 freshman eighteen year old college freshman who plays basketball at the University of Washington, over 2,700 miles away from where he was born and raised in Maryland. Last year, Fultz was one of the most touted high school basketball players in the country. Today, Fultz, despite the underachieving season for the Washington Huskies, is seen as the projected top basketball player in D1 and if he declares for the NBA Draft, there is a very high chance that he will be selected before anyone else.
Fultz’s first media spotlight came thanks to Marc Stern and CapitolHoops.com, a high school basketball website that is active in Washington DC, Virginia, and Fultz’s home state of Maryland. Stern, who used to work in corporate sales with the Washington Wizards from 2004-07, is today the President of the CapitolHoops. For the past two years, the site has been running a continuing documentary on Fultz. Stern talked about that the site plans to follow up on Fultz’s story, titled “My Life.”
“I’ll be doing a follow up documentary on Fultz. Hopefully, they’ll get a million hits” he said. “I struck gold with the Fultz’s doc.”
Though Fultz have, so far, have been the most publicized player the website has seen, CapitolHoops seem to follow the phrase most associated with real estate and applied it to basketball: “Location, location, location!”
Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia sits on a hotbed of talented basketball prospects and highly competitive schools. Stern discussed the area where he operates and what he sees from love of the sport.
“The WCAC (Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) is regarded by most people who follow the sport as the best conference in the country. Three of their teams are in the top 25 in the nation” Stern said. “DeMartha, Gonzaga, Paul VI, St. John, teams who send players to D1. Players from that conference playing for Duke, Wake Forest, NC State, down there.”
(Bryant Crawford, the sophomore guard for Wake Forest who is averaging 13 ppg (points per game) and six assist, is an alumni of Gonzaga College High School.)
For many of the student athletes in high school, unlike with the athletes in college, this is usually the first time that they have to deal with the media in their lives. Seeing that his platform puts him into the company of fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen year olds, Stern talks about interviewing and filming high school athletes.
“With athletes, especially major athletes, they have to mature quickly to do interviews, media relations, they have to mature” he acknowledged. “Social media has played a major role in how athletes have changed. It’s easier to connect with them. In the past, I had to track down their phone numbers, but now I can go to Facebook.”
With the website, Stern also describes some of the reactions and receptions that crowds and students have when seeing them. He says that the students and the athletes tend to be excited when they see that their school, team, and themselves will be featured on CapitolHoops. However, that also leads to some backlash from those schools not selected. Here was what Marc had to say to some of the criticism he receives for choices he has had to make on teams to cover.
“I think that the only negative backlash I get comes from parents and fans getting jealous because I’m covering a big team and big school. There are over 500 teams in the jurisdiction and I got a few freelance guys and interns” he explained for why he is unable to cover the hundreds of teams and thousands of players. “When I do these series, I have to do a big time player that’ll be well received and connect to the masses.”
Aside from the continuation of the Markelle Fultz series, the website also offers interviews with coaches and players, game and individual players highlights, and another long running documentary series focusing on the life of Immanuel Quickly, who like Fultz in the past, is a highly touted prospect, ranked No.10 in the 2018 class. We expect to see, read, watch, and hear more from all these players in the near future and thanks to CapitolHoops.com, we can get an in-depth look at them at the beginning of their athletic careers.