Tullahoma’s career leader in made 3-pointers will be continuing his basketball career in college, as senior Ben Fulton recently committed to Cumberland University.
“Cumberland has always been of school of interest because I knew of their basketball program and I’ve played in their gym before,” Fulton said. “Once they reached out and we got everything situated I knew that would be a good fit for me.”
During his senior season, Fulton and the rest of the Wildcats made history, finishing with an overall record of 16-16, including garnering a district title. Tullahoma won the District 8-AAA Tournament with a 63-50 win over Columbia Feb. 22. That victory allowed Tullahoma to host a first round game during the Region 4-AAA Tournament, where the Wildcats went on to beat Riverdale 56-49.
However, Tullahoma saw its season end in its next contest with a loss to Siegel in the Region 4-AAA Semifinal matchup. After trailing 19-2 early on in that matchup, the Wildcats rallied and cut its deficit to 37-36 at halftime. However, Siegel grabbed momentum in the second half, going on to capture an 87-67 victory.
As one of three seniors on this year’s team, Fulton led the Wildcats in scoring, averaging just over 14 points per game. Fulton netted 447 points during his final season, giving him a career total of 1,356, making him Tullahoma’s third all-time leader in points, trailing Nic Barstad (second) and Marquel Hickerson, who left Tullahoma with 1,396 points.
In early January, against Lebanon, the senior guard etched his name in the Tullahoma record books, after knocking down his 197th made 3-pointer. The new mark came with 3:52 left in the second quarter, after he splashed home a 3-pointer.
“It feels great,” Fulton said after setting the new school record. “Coming into high school, I didn’t even know that I could reach it until one of my former teammates, Nic reached it. I said from then that it could be achievable. So, I just started working at it.”
That make ranks Fulton first in all-time 3-point makes, breaking a 2017 mark of 196 that was set by Barstad. Fulton went on to hit 22 more 3-pointers the remainder of his senior season, finishing with 219 makes for his career.
While he became a scorer for Tullahoma, Fulton worked hard in other areas of his game. During his final season as a Wildcat, Fulton had 176 rebounds, 110 assists and 50 steals.
On the basketball court, Fulton was a four-year starter for Tullahoma. On the football field, he was also a two-year starter, playing quarterback for the Wildcats. In both of his seasons, Tullahoma was able to make the playoffs.
During his senior year on the football field, Fulton was one of 12 Tullahoma football players named to the All Region 4-4A Team. Fulton was a first-team selection, after completing 125 of his 194 passes on the season, throwing for 1,899 yards. His final season, Fulton threw 16 touchdown passes, while being intercepted six times.
According to Cumberland’s Head Coach Jeremy Lewis, being a dual sport athlete was one of Fulton’s biggest selling points.
“I know he comes from a good coach and a great family,” Lewis said. “He’s a hardworking kid and a good athlete, a dual sport athlete, which is always intriguing to me. There are so many kids who focus on one sport that it’s refreshing to see a kid who wants to play multiple sports.”
Making an impact as a freshman for any athlete can be difficult. However, Lewis thinks Fulton could step in work hard as he competes to try to get on the floor.
“I think he has a chance to be one of those kids who helps us grow the program the way we need it to grow,” Lewis said. “When I made an offer, I told him, ‘What I can give you is an opportunity. You’re going to need to be the one to come in here and make the most of the opportunity.’ That’s all he needed to hear and that’s all that he wanted.”
While looking ahead to his time at Cumberland University, Fulton said he’s excited about the opportunity at hand. He said that he’s not quite sure what he wants to study, but has narrowed it to three options, sports management, criminal justice or education.
“I’m looking forward to continuing my basketball career and making new relationships,” Fulton said. “I’m excited for the new adventures and opportunities that are waiting for me.”
While school is out of session, Fulton says that he’s continuing to stay in shape. He says that he is continuing to work out at home or traveling nearby to put in some extra work.
“I’ve been blessed to have a nice basketball court set up at my house so I’ve been getting a lot of shots up and trying to get stronger,” Fulton said. “My friends and I go almost every day to the outdoor court at West Middle School and play full-court, so that’s where I get my cardio.”
While looking back at his time at Tullahoma High School, Fulton said that his career had plenty of positives. He said he’ll always cherish his time as a Wildcat.
“My time at Tullahoma has been nothing but amazing,” Fulton said. “I’ve learned so much from both football and basketball and just even walking the halls. I’ve been blessed to be on some pretty amazing teams with great teammates and great coaches and especially having the support from the whole town of Tullahoma.
“Probably the main thing I’m going to remember the most is all the great relationships I have made throughout my football and basketball career, and all the laughs I have had in the locker room and on the bus.”