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Seattle native PJ Fuller adjusts to life at Findlay Prep

Updated September 26, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Findlay Prep guard PJ Fuller smiles as he bounces around the gymnasium at Henderson International School. He’s youthful in nature, inquisitive with his coaches and fervent in his execution of the sets they install, operating the offense with a joyous fluidity and an earnest sense of freedom.

For two weeks in August, though, he was miserable.

“I thought I made the wrong decision,” he said.

Not anymore.

Fuller left his native Seattle to run the point for the Pilots and first-year coach Rodney Haddix, who is tailoring his roster around the springy 6-foot-4-inch senior and his cerebral skill set. A consensus four-star recruit, Fuller announced this month his commitment to Texas Christian, joining Clark’s Jalen Hill and Antwon Jackson as local Division I pledges.

Granted, Fuller had some trepidation about becoming a local. But here he is, nonetheless.

“To get where I wanted to go, this is what I feel like I needed to do,” Fuller said. “This is what separates a lot of people from other people, just coming out here and being away from your family, it prepares you for college.”

Fuller built a top billing in Seattle while playing high school basketball under the direction of former NBA All-Star Brandon Roy. His long limbs and uncanny athleticism provided natural advantages, and he worked tirelessly to become a well-rounded floor general — capable of scoring and creating at all three levels.

But he still sought additional development and opted this summer to leave Seattle to play his final high school season at Findlay Prep, which competes against a national schedule and features a bevy of high-end players.

“It’s the best decision he’s made in a long time,” said mentor and skills trainer Julius Von Hanzlik, who works with several of the West Coast’s top prospects. “When you relocate to another state, it’s a business decision. … He went there to better his path and increase his chances of going to the next level.”

Fuller overcame his initial bout of homesickness by immersing himself in his new team and situation. He officially visited Texas Christian in August and committed to the Horned Frogs over schools such as Washington, Florida State and UNLV.

His recruitment is over. He’s adjusted to Las Vegas, and he’s at peace with his decision with the season on the horizon.

Make that both decisions — Findlay Prep and Texas Christian.

“We’re here to make sure he gets what he needs and that he can get to the next level and do what he wants to do,” Haddix said. “I think a lot of that kind of helped him settle in. … He got comfortable.”

Gorman girls ranked

Bishop Gorman’s girls soccer team checked in at No. 8 in the USA Today/United Soccer Coaches Super 25 national poll. The defending Class 4A state champion Gaels are 10-0 and have outscored opponents by 5o goals.

Contact reporter Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon.

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