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5-star guard Markelle Fultz signs with UW hoops

Markelle Fultz is seen before the 3-Point Contest in the Under Armour Elite 24 Skills Competition, August 21, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.
Markelle Fultz is seen before the 3-Point Contest in the Under Armour Elite 24 Skills Competition, August 21, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. AP

One of the highest-rated recruits in University of Washington men’s basketball history has signed his binding national letter of intent to play for the Huskies.

Markelle Fultz, a 6-foot-4 guard from DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland, committed to the Huskies in August and UW officially announced his signing Friday.

Scout.com and 247 Sports both rank Fultz as a 5-star prospect and the No. 7 player in the entire 2016 recruiting class.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar anticipates an immediate impact.

“I’m always careful to overhype guys that we sign because they haven’t played a college game yet, but if there’s anyone that I’m very confident in that is going to come in and make a splash as a freshman, it’s Markelle Fultz,” Romar said in a statement released by the school. “He is the most dynamic guard coming in the door that we have signed in our 14 years here.”

Fultz, who chose the Huskies over offers from Kentucky, Louisville and Arizona, played on DeMatha’s junior varsity team as a sophomore in 2013-14, but became a top prospect after a stellar junior season in which he averaged 16.5 points per game and was named his conference’s player of the year. He will also compete this summer for the USA Basketball men’s junior national team.

His mother, Ebony, told The News Tribune in August that UW offered Fultz a scholarship around September 2014, before most other schools. The Huskies were able to forge a relationship with Fultz through his trainer, Keith Williams, who is a longtime friend of Huskies assistant Raphael Chillious.

Fultz said his decision to attend UW was based mostly on “the relationship we started to build, it was unbelievable with Coach Romar, Coach Chills – them showing up to every AAU game I had showed how really badly they wanted me, and I think that made a difference.”

Fultz joins New Zealand center Sam Timmins in UW’s 2016 recruiting class. Timmins has already signed a letter of intent and plans to enroll at UW in January and begin practicing with the team before making his debut in the 2016-17 season.

“He’s extremely poised and versatile,” Romar said of Fultz, according to UW’s statement. “He’s a guard with size at 6-4 that’s athletic, can handle the ball and really passes well. He’s got long arms so he’ll be a great defender for us and he’s got experience on the big stage. When you consider that he was on the junior varsity team as a 10th grader and he’s made this climb this rapidly, you just know that he’s maybe just scratching the surface.”

Christian Caple: 253-597-8437, @ChristianCaple

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