The Big Interview - CJ Fulton
April 16, 2021
CJ Fulton will be playing Division 1 college basketball next season for Lafayette, having spent the last season with Wichendon Hoops in Massachusetts. We caught up with the 18-year-old to talk about the next step in his career and life Stateside.
Q1: You officially signed your letter of intent on Wednesday with Lafayette, having committed a few weeks ago, firstly congratulations. Tell us about Lafayette and why you chose there for the next step in your career and how excited are you about making the step up to Division 1 college basketball?
“Lafayette is a Division 1 college located in Easton, Pennsylvania. It is about 90 minutes from both Philadelphia and New York City. Lafayette play in the Patriot League, which features teams such as Colgate, Boston University, Lehigh, and Bucknell. It has an excellent reputation as an academic institution and has a very good basketball programme. Coach O'Hanlon is an experienced coach with a brilliant reputation, so I feel very lucky to be able to learn from him and his staff. One of the assistants Coach Radomicki has been in regular contact with me over the past year and we have developed a good relationship. Former Irish international Paul Cummins also attended Lafayette. Overall, I think it is a really good fit for me and I can’t wait to get started!”
Q2: No doubt you used your dad Adrian and grandad Danny as a sounding board before making the decision, what part did they play?
“I have been very lucky with the support and advice I have received in making my decision. As well as my parents and Granda, I have had amazing support from Coach Kehoe and the coaching staff at Winchendon. Pat Price has been so helpful, former Irish international Kieran Quinn, who is based in the US, knows the school very well, and Gareth Maguire was able to let us know about the campus itself, as I haven't been able to visit yet. Coach Bill Dooley is another person who was able to keep me on track. There is a lot to consider when making the decision, but I am thrilled to be going to Lafayette.”
Q3: Did you have conversations with other colleges?
“Yes, I had interest from other colleges, but I'm really happy with how everything worked out. It's been a challenging year for this years recruiting class, especially with everything that is going on at the minute in the transfer portal, so I feel blessed to be in the situation I am in.”
Q4: Who are the coaches you’ll be working with and what is the coaching and playing philosophy at Lafayette? What have the coaches said to you about their plans for you personally next season?
“The coaching staff and the style of play at Lafayette were definitely big factors in my decision. Coach O’Hanlon has been the head coach at Lafayette for over 25 years. He played at Villanova and was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers. I have a lot of friends around the Philadelphia area and he is so highly thought of throughout the basketball community. Coach JD Dyson, Coach Radomicki, and Coach Burrell are the three assistant coaches. Coach Radomicki shared some video clips very early in the recruitment process and I feel that the playing style under Coach O’Hanlon suits the way I play. Next year, my role will be to step up when called upon and hopefully I can help the team have another great season.
Q5: What will be your goals for your first season with Lafayette?
“My goals for the first season will be to keep improving as a player and help the team in any way I can. I am simply going to work hard, listen and learn, and hopefully by doing that I will have a chance of repaying the coaching staff for giving me this amazing opportunity. I also think we have a great chance of being competitive and winning games in the Patriot League, but for now I am just concentrating on getting better and helping the team.”
Q6: Sum up your experience with Winchendon Hoops, what are the main areas of your game you feel you've improved since being there?
“I have enjoyed my time at Winchendon, despite only playing a limited amount of games due to Covid. My teammates have been great fun to be around and the coaching staff have worked us hard. My biggest development has definitely been in the weights room. I have got a lot stronger, although I still have a long way to go!”
Q7: What has been the hardest thing about moving Stateside and what were the biggest benefits?
“Being away from my family and friends at home was always going to be tough. The biggest benefit has been the opportunity to practice and workout on a daily basis, especially with the lockdown restrictions in Ireland at the minute.”
Q8: What were the main challenges as a player day-to-day, training and playing, during with Covid-19 restrictions?
“We have had to wear a mask in practices and games, so that has been difficult. Most days are pretty busy with school and practice, so it can sometimes be hard to maintain a good routine and devote enough time to things like stretching.”
Q9: What's the thing you miss most about home?
“My Mum's cooking and our dog!”
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