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Washington Adds TCU Transfer P.J Fuller

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The former Seattle high school star is coming home

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 29 Baylor at TCU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Washington Huskies today continued their trend of bringing home local talent through the transfer portal as TCU guard P.J Fuller committed to the Dawgs. Fuller averaged 5.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game for the Horned Frogs as a sophomore this past season. He will have 4 years to play 3 for the Huskies and will be immediately eligible as a first-time transfer.

The 6’4 Fuller looked to be a lock to the Huskies at one point in his prep career but it turns out it took a few years for that to happen. He bounced around in high school winning state titles for Nathan Hale and then for Garfield under Brandon Roy. For Fuller’s senior season he transferred out of state to Findlay Prep and then committed to TCU where he had connections with an assistant coach. He was ranked as the #76 player in the class of 2019 by the 247 Sports composite.

Unfortunately things haven’t come easily to Fuller in the Big 12. Fuller has started 27 games for the Frogs over the past 2 seasons but the numbers haven’t exactly been stellar. He has put up career 44.7% 2pt, 28.8% 3pt, 76.7% FT shooting splits with more turnovers than assists to this point. Fuller has committed at least 3 turnovers in over 1/3rd of his games and has a career high of 21 points. During a 9 game, 223 minute stretch earlier this season Fuller shot 1/14 from 3-pt range with 12 assists and 19 turnovers. Not exactly encouraging.

He was at his best though attacking the basket. Per Synergy Sports Fuller scored 1.0 points per possession in transition and 1.17 ppp on cuts. That stands in contrast to his 0.64 ppp when trying to score in isolation and 0.67 ppp when running a pick and roll.

On the other end of the floor Fuller has the tools to be a plus defender. His steal and block numbers weren’t spectacular at TCU but he wasn’t exactly a complete defensive non-entity. Per Synergy Sports’ points per possession tracking Fuller graded out as almost exactly a league average defender which would’ve been considered stellar on last season’s Husky roster. The Horned Frogs played almost no zone so that will be an adjustment but Fuller could easily be an asset in that scheme with his roughly 6’6 wingspan. Putting him at the top of the zone as the lead ball handler with an even taller wing beside him looks intriguing from a defensive standpoint.

Fortunately the additions of both Terrell Brown Jr. and Daejon Davis mean that Fuller shouldn’t be heavily relied upon to play meaningful (starter’s) minutes this year barring an injury. At this point we just don’t have conclusive proof that Fuller won’t be the guard version of J’Raan Brooks. A highly touted player coming out of high school who just never quite put it together enough to compete at a major conference level.

Then again it’s possible that Fuller’s able to have the lightbulb turn on for him. In the KenPom player database the best comp to Fuller’s most recent season was Colorado’s Xavier Talton who also struggled early in his career. From Talton’s junior to senior season he increased his 3-pt% to from 31% to 36%, cut down his turnovers by about 10%, and increased his assist numbers up by about 20% to become a really useful 6th man. Expecting more than that though from Fuller given the 2 years he’s displayed at TCU is probably unrealistic at this point.

Still, Fuller is a lottery ticket worth having on this roster. While he didn’t have much success at TCU he’s someone that is not going to be phased by Pac-12 competition if asked to step in to a bigger role. In the worst case scenario he takes on a role similar to Nate Pryor who had stretches where he came off the bench to play 15 minutes per game and stretches where he fell out of the rotation. In the best case scenario as outlined above Fuller’s able to be a solid bench contributor this year and step into a larger role in later seasons after Brown and Davis graduate.

There’s still one more scholarship potentially up for grabs but it also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Huskies holster it in case someone becomes unexpectedly available. At the moment I would expect the Huskies to roll with the rotation below although there’s a lot of mix-and-match potential at the 3/4/5 spots if Wilson or Grant show they’re stars from day 1.

Starters: 6’1 Brown, 6’3 Davis, 6’6 Bey, 6’7 Matthews, 6’11 Roberts

Reserves: 6’4 Fuller, 6’7 Bajema, 6’9 Wilson, 6’10 Grant

Out of Rotation: 6’0 Penn, 6’8 Ariyibi, 7’4 Sorn

The roster from an eligibility standpoint looks like below. Given that everyone got an extra year of eligibility this past season we could see players decide to graduate and move on after what gets listed below as their junior season but this is the closest look we have right now to the roster for the upcoming year.

Here’s to hoping that a change to more familiar scenery is able to do Fuller a world of good. Welcome back to Seattle P.J!