Since Covid, the high school recruiting landscape has changed drastically. Guys who would’ve been given a chance to prove themselves at level “X” are still being pushed aside for players who, theoretically, can contribute right away. Now, whether those guys (often older, more experienced transfers or JUCO products) actually move the needle is largely inconclusive. The point is: high school prospects who check all these specific boxes and meet the necessary qualifications are being punished in favor of the unknown. It’s truly disappointing that these kids just aren’t getting a fair chance to be appropriately recruited—or at least the same opportunity players had even three seasons ago. Take someone like Ari Fulton, for example. He’s an incredibly appealing, obvious Division I talent, yet only received his first offer (from East Carolina) within the last month. This begs the question, is he the most under-recruited prospect in North Carolina’s Class of 2024?
In short, the answer is probably yes. At 6-foot-6, Fulton is a long, fluid, dynamic athlete with an impressive frame and two-way versatility. He’s able to effortlessly control the glass, toggle between multiple positions defensively, and make plays in transition at a high volume. Given his physical tools and blossoming inside-out skillset, Fulton is a mismatch for most opponents. He’s very active around the basket, both when lurking for putbacks and finding open seams within the defense, and finishes basically anything he attempts within five feet. Opponents shouldn’t consider trying to meet him at the rim, as it typically won’t go their way. As physically overwhelming as he is, Fulton is quite skilled and possesses great feel on either side of the ball. He displays vision and useful creation instincts, especially for his size/position. Fulton is able to dominate inside, knock down jumpers, make plays off the bounce, and effectively operate without the ball (both as a cutter and screener).
Furthermore, Fulton is the clear leader and focal point of Westover High School—a program that has seen a ton of success over the last decade behind Coach George Stackhouse. Tons of noteworthy prospects have come through this program, and Fulton seems highly likely to be the next memorable one. It’s still somewhat early, but Division I schools would be wise to start getting involved now and positioning themselves to join the eventual bidding war. Given everything he brings to the table, all types of schools should be in pursuit. Don’t be surprised to see Fulton’s recruitment explode over the next calendar year, as he has the tools to be special.