Irish basketball player CJ Fulton may be making a big impression on the US college basketball scene but it was his pals who stole the limelight after a recent game.
The 21-year-old Charleston Cougars guard from Belfast contributed six points and four assists in his team’s 80-62 victory over Elon Phoenix on Friday.
However, it was the former St Malachy’s College student’s friends who were fielding the questions at the post-game press conference.
Singing and dancing in the stands for the entire game, the quartet initially caught the eye of Scott Eisberg, Sports Director with Charleston TV station WCIV, who likened the group to fans at a European soccer game.
After questioning the four and discovering they had flown from Ireland to support their friend, Eisberg quizzed the group about Fulton’s ability.
“He’s the best p’ayer to come out of Ireland in, I’d say, about 20, 30 years,” one pal exclaimed proudly.
That’s hardly surprising considering Fulton’s father Adrian is one of the best basketball players Ireland has ever produced.
However, the four pals were in a more jocular mood after they managed to join Fulton at the post-game press conference.
Asked by a journalist how much Fulton had improved since moving to the US, his pals joked: “He’s worse, he’s regressed!
“We taught him everything he knows, he just got the credit!”
Meanwhile, asked about their modest jerseys from their old school team, one of the gang quipped: “That’s your retro St Malachy’s College jerseys! Money can’t buy these!”
“There’s no way this is happening, it’s a dream,” joked Fulton.
The group then broke into a chant of: “CJ Fulton, the best in Ireland, and he pays for Charleston.”
The Cougars appear to have taken a shine to Fulton’s fan club — and their chant — later sharing a video of the song with the comment: “This is our new theme song. No further questions.”
Fulton was back in action on Saturday, contributing nine points and six assists as he helped Charleston to a 94-83 victory against Monmouth Hawks.
The former Belfast Star player won nine All-Ireland National Championships with St Malachy’s College and was the Basketball Ireland U19 Male National Schools Player of the Year in 2019 and 2020.
Fulton moved to the US in 2020, spending a year at the Winchendon School in Boston before heading to Lafayette College.
In his two years in Pennsylvania, Fulton registered 531 points, 249 assists and 102 steals for the Leopards, playing in all but four games.
After transferring to Charleston in 2023, he grabbed six rebounds on his debut against Iona and later equalled his career-high of six steals against Rhode Island.