Foreign tours are beneficial. They can help with team chemistry and off-the-court bonding, while also giving a program an extra 10 practices and an opportunity to play an actual opponent (not a scrimmage versus themselves).
Even though stats should be taken with a grain of salt (the competition is certainly not the same as college teams in the USA), players having breakout performances are noteworthy when there is not much to talk about in the month of August.
And when your putting up absurd numbers like Washington Huskies guard Markelle Fultz, it must be mentioned.
Fultz scored 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists and had two steals in a win over the Mainland Eagles in Australia. With this most recent performance and a 33-point game earlier in their foreign tour, Fultz is now averaging 24.7 points per game in three outings.
It just confirms that the five-star recruit is the real deal and that he is likely to light up college basketball and the Pac-12 Conference in 2016-17. Fultz is a future lottery pick because of his playmaking ability, his smooth style with the basketball in his hands, his ability to score at all three levels, his talent in transition, his athleticism and his versatility.
In addition to the stats, he’s throwing down dunks like this:
— Washington Men's Basketball (@UW_MBB) August 7, 2016
For Fultz, the highlights aren’t going to end in Australia…that’s for sure.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are already 2-0 in Spain thanks to the presence of Josh Hart.
In the team’s first game against a Spanish Select Team, Hart had 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists. The Wildcats trashed their opponent (a group of Division II professional players), winning 89-49.
The senior forward followed up that performance with an even better one. Hart scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the Wildcats victory, 87-80, over another Spanish Select Team on Sunday.
“Josh was dominant, by far the best player on the floor today,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said to the team’s website. “If that was a regular season game he probably could have had 40. We were trying some different things late. But when we needed a bucket, we went to him every time and he came through.
“Even more so than the points, I thought Josh was outstanding defensively and on the glass for us.”
Hart is obviously the leader of this Wildcats unit, along with Kris Jenkins. He will be in the mix for both Big East Player of the Year and possible spot on an All-American team nationally because of his passion, work ethic and most importantly, his experience.
He was the final piece for the puzzle for the Wildcats when he decided to take his name out of the NBA Draft pool. The Wildcats have a legit chance to repeat, especially if Hart carries this momentum back to the States.
Programs can only participate in a foreign tour once every four years, but they sure can be a massive help in the long run.