Sixers’ Markelle Fultz says Pacers guard and fellow DeMatha grad Victor Oladipo is ‘a big brother to me’
Markelle Fultz said Victor Oladipo was one of his coaches at his D.C.-area basketball camps.
INDIANAPOLIS – Markelle Fultz chuckled when asked if he'll yell "One DeMatha!" at Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo on his way to the basket.
Jokes aside, the 76ers combo guard was excited about facing his friend and fellow DeMatha Catholic alumnus in Wednesday night's game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Oladipo, an all-star shooting guard, is Class of 2010, while Fultz is Class of 2016.
"It's a little bit of bragging rights with another Stag," Fultz said of facing Oladipo. "But at the end of the day, the team, the way we have been playing, we want to come out here and get our first round win and play as hard as we can."
The Sixers went on to take a 100-94 victory, improving to 7-5 overall. It was their first road win in six tries this season.
But Fultz said Oladipo, the second overall pick in the 2013 draft, has motivated him over the years. He called the 26-year-old an unbelievable worker on and off the court.
"Believe it or not, when I used to go to DeMatha camp he was one of my coaches," Fultz, 20, said of being an eighth-grader. "So you know, just being a big brother to me and mentoring me and teaching me the ins and out of being a great young man and a great basketball player. He's always been there."
Told that Fultz referred to him as a big brother, Oladipo said 'He's doesn't have a choice. I am one."
"Coming from DeMatha, it's bigger than a school. It's a brotherhood," Oladipo said. "We have each other's back no matter what's going on where we are at. It's always something that we can relate to, and that's being a Stag."
He added that they also have a brotherhood due to both being from Prince George's County, Maryland. Oladipo said that's how people treat each other from that county.
"That's my little brother whether he likes it our not," he said. "And his momma will probably say the same thing."
Fultz said and Oladipo speak frequently.
Last season, Oladipo was a big supporter of Fultz while he missed most of the season due to the "yips."
He even shared some advice with the first pick of the 2017 draft.
"Everybody's path is different," Oladipo said on March 13 before the Pacers played the Sixers at Wells Fargo Center. "Everything happens for a reason. What he's going through is only going to make him stronger and better as a man and a person. … His time is coming."
Oladipo said Wednesday that he remember going to a DeMatha practice with his godfather when Fultz was going into his junior year at the high school. He told his godfather that can play.
"And he turned into Markelle Fultz," Oladipo said. "Pretty awesome to see."