Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint.
By David Cordova
In New York City, diminutive point guards come a dime a dozen. Even though they are small in stature, they have big hearts and play the David role very well in a world full of Goliaths on the basketball court. They are expected to control a team, have good court vision, make the right pass and score when needed to.
Shawn Fulcher does all of the above. The 5-foot-11 point guard is a consummate floor general at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, New York and is tough as nails when it comes to making his presence felt on the court.
This past season, he became one of the best guards in the Catholic League despite his youth and plans to make even more noise in the future.
When asked what motivates him to be successful in the game of basketball, Fulcher replied, “I think it’s for my family. Me coming to Catholic school is different, like, a lot of people in my family went to public school, I wanted to come to Catholic school and be successful, get a better education. Ever since I was young, when I first put the ball in my hands, I fell in love and I wanted to play. In my elementary school years, I was good, but I wasn’t really prepared to play structured basketball, so like, at the time, I was still going through struggles, but then I had to adapt to the game of basketball and AAU and stuff like that and then that’s when I started increasing my talent.”
Fulcher hails from the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, a tough area where having toughness is a must. When asked about being from Brownsville, he replied, “Okay, so being from Brownsville, it’s very hard, like, you go outside, make the wrong turn, you get shot certain days. Like, everybody’s shooting and beefing with each other, instead of being together as a community. A lot of people from my hood, they know what I’m capable of, and they want me to change the neighborhood, so, I’m trying to put Brownsville on my back and change that.”
On being from the borough of Brooklyn and its basketball culture, he replied, “I mean, Brooklyn, we got a lot of tough talent, you know, everybody’s tough and gritty, ‘cause there’s not many chances that you get to get out of here, so everybody got to play hard, feed off of each other, and we could be top players in the city.”
Fulcher’s reason for attending Xaverian, which is located in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, was because of another famous person from his neighborhood with ties to the school. “So, this guy who actually livces in my neighborhood, by the name of Levance Fields, he came here,” said Fulcher of Fields, who later on went to play collegiate basketball at the University of Pittsburgh.
“He’s very close with my family and my cousin had brought me to a tournament one day, and I played against his team and he didn’t know about me yet, but he had another kid named Tyrone Black, he was supposed to come to this school and which is one of my close friends. And he [Fields], didn’t know what I was capable of yet, and my cousin told him I was going to give his team 30, and then I gave his team 30, and then he started to like me, feed off me, and then that’s when he hit up Coach Clyde [Chapman] and he wanted me to be in this school and I was willing to come here,” added Fulcher.
On strengths and weaknesses in his game, he replied, “Strengths, I’m an all-around player, I can play, you know, I can shoot, pass, everything and get my team involved, but the main thing I struggle with, I think is, my left hand is not too elite yet, it’s good, but I need to work on that, and just shooting from anywhere on the floor. Getting to my spot, pulling up rising, I think that’s what I need to work on [for] this upcoming season.”
This past season, Fulcher averaged eight points per game and led the Clippers to a 20-8 record and a berth in the CHSAA quarterfinals. When asked about how he felt the season went this year, he replied, “I mean, my sophomore season, it was great for me. To see the varsity team go 4-27 and then turn around to 20-8, I think I did an awesome job leading my teammates to where we need to be. They haven’t touched that Fordham court in a long time and I brought them there this year, so I’m very proud of that, and I’m willing to do the same thing next year for the upcoming kids that will play varsity next year.”
On the AAU circuit, Fulcher has been playing for the Pro Scholars Athletics Cardinals, a Bronx-based program which plays on the Nike EYBL circuit. When asked about playing on their 15U squad this spring, he replied, “PSA Cardinals is tough, I love the team, they’re different from everybody else. [When] everybody else go to EYBL, on the [social] media, we don’t have our phones. Once we get on that plane, we’re locked in, and that’s it. We talk to our teammates in the hotel, we don’t need no social media, we’re all on a time schedule, like I love the program, they help you prepare for college and the League.”
When it comes to sneakers, Fulcher, like many kids is passionate about his sneaker game. “My favorite sneakers on the court are Kobe’s. Kobe’s or KD’s, I like those sneakers, they’re comfortable [and] let me get right to it,” he said about his favorite sneakers.
Xaverian, which is sponsored by Under Armour, gets plenty of good gear themselves, as well. “Xaverian footwear is good, I like Under Armour cause of the walkarounds, like, they’re comfortable, you know? I’m really a Nike fan, but I like both, they both got good sneakers, so that’s the good part, and then on top of that, I get to have both sides. Instead of strictly Nike, I get to have both.”
Also, he lists Damian Lillard as his favorite player. When asked why he chose the four-time NBA All-Star, Fulcher replied, “Because he’s an underdog, like, a lot of people don’t talk about him in the league. I liked him since his first year when he beat the Rockets, that’s when I first started liking him because he’s not worried about what people think about him. When he gets on the court, he’s handling business and that’s what I like about him.”
When asked he himself felt as if he were an underdog, Fulcher replied, “Yeah, I definitely do think that, a lot of people don’t know me yet, and a couple of people do know me, and I’m willing to keep working and [not] worry about what everyone else thinks and sooner or later when the lights are bright, I’m going to start shining.”
Now that he has two more years left in high school is to ultimately lead Xaverian to the CHSAA championship and win. Just three years ago, the Clippers were the underdog in the title game against Bishop Loughlin and would knock off a team with three future Division I players.
“I’m definitely fitting to get a championship before I leave here,” said Fulcher, “That’s my main goal. I need, me and my brothers in here, to get a championship. They haven’t won a championship in two or three years and I’m trying to get my jersey hung up in this school, like, that’s part of the legacy that I want to leave, my number on that wall, when these new kids come here in 10 years from now come here and see my jersey, that’s what I want to do for this school.”
In regards to his recruitment, he has been offered by Marist and plans to receive more offers in the near future. But then again, time is on his side and there is more for him to do. Chances are that schools will be flocking to Xaverian to see him and will make more inquiries for him once they see his talent and drive for the game.
Pretty soon, more people will know about the kid from Brownsville. But for right now, Shawn Fulcher will be enjoying his summer on the circuit with the PSA Cardinals and plans to attain more attention. For him, the sky is the limit.