Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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High School Coach: Markelle Fultz Would Complement Ben Simmons on Sixers
Kevin Boyle has coached Ben Simmons and coached against Markelle Fultz — and he believes the two players would complement each other well on the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers.
“I think that would be a be a good fit for Ben to get somebody who can really make shots,” Boyle, the legendary Montverde (FL) Academy coach, said Friday evening by phone.
The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are engaged in trade talks that would send the No. 1 pick (Fultz) to the Sixers in exchange for a combination of picks, presumably including the No. 3 pick this year. That would give the Sixers back-to-back No. 1 picks in Simmons and Fultz, neither of whom made the NCAA tournament in college.
“My understanding was the Sixers were going to play [the 6-foot-10 Simmons] at point,” Boyle said. “I don’t know what they’re thinking there, if that would change their mind or not.
“Obviously, [Fultz] is a great player and I think they could use somebody who could really shoot the ball, too, like he can. With Ben, he can get to the rim and push. And Ben’s a great passer, kind of like LeBron [James], when he finds guys for 3’s and those bullet passes. Bringing the ball up, he hits you in the hands and if you can make shots, it makes it easier for those guys, LeBron or Ben, to get to the rim if you gotta stay home with shooters.”
Boyle won three Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National championships with Simmons in the fold. He then coached against Fultz and DeMatha Catholic two years ago when Simmons was at LSU.
“[Fultz] is a really good player,” Boyle said of the 6-4 guard out of Washington. “He’s a great player, and I think it’s most likely he goes No. 1.”
Boyle also coached Sixers big man Joel Embiid for a while at Montverde. Embiid was the No. 3 pick out of Kansas in 2014.
“First of all, Embiid can really shoot the ball,” Boyle previously said of the Sixers’ big man. “He has three-point range for a guy who’s 7-foot.”
If Embiid can take opposing big men out to the three-point line to guard him, it will open things up for Simmons and Fultz to drive and shoot.
“People don’t know this yet, but if [Embiid] stays healthy I think they’re going to see that,” Boyle said previously.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.