CJ Fulton, son of Irish basketball legend Adrian, scores record 47 points to fire St Malachy's College to All-Ireland glory 5 years ago

CJ Fulton, son of Irish basketball legend Adrian, scores record 47 points to fire St Malachy's College to All-Ireland glory

Like father, like son.

Basketball is a big deal in St Malachy's College, Belfast. As a former pupil there, I can tell you that there is certainly as much emphasis on basketball as there is on Gaelic football or soccer. Then again, considering the school's pedigree when it comes to basketball, it's no wonder.


One of my earliest memories of St Malachy's is staying behind on a Friday afternoon for basketball practice. I didn't last long. Small, slight and not exactly blessed with exceptional athleticism, I was shite. But I still went at the start for a bit of craic. The first time I went, we were coached by Adrian Fulton. As a naive 11-year-old, I didn't have a clue who he was. I assumed he was just a teacher who also happened to coach the basketball team.

In our first session, Mr Fulton – or Fulty, as he was known as to pupils – scored a lay-up. As he was running up to take the shot, one of the lads shouted "MISS!" It was an obvious attempt to put him off and embarrass him. It didn't work. Fulty scored, turned around to all of us and said confidently: "I don't miss."

He's sure of himself, I thought to myself. But, of course, unbeknownst to me at the time, Fulty's unshakable self-confidence was well-placed, for he is probably the greatest basketballer Northern Ireland has ever produced. Fulton captained both Star of the Sea and Ireland at senior level and is widely recognised as an Irish legend in the sport.


But, as a PE teacher at St Malachy's, he has had the opportunity of ushering through the next generation. The pick of the current crop happens to be his son, Christopher (CJ), who scored a record 47 points as he captained St Malachy’s to a 62-46 win over St Mary’s, Tralee in Thursday's All-Ireland U16 basketball final in Tallaght.

The 15-year-old caused a storm on Twitter after netting an astounding 15 3-pointers, deservedly earning the playmaking point guard the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the National Basketball Arena.

Coached by his father and fellow St Malachy's PE teacher Phillip Molloy, CJ is widely expected to make a big impression in the sport in years to come. His bloodline has certainly worked to his advantage, with a father and a grandfather (Danny) both deeply immersed in Irish basketballing history.


CJ's exploits on the court in Dublin earned lofty praise from Kieran Donaghy and Mike Quirke, both of whom sacrificed promising basketball careers in favour of Gaelic football.



Adrian Fulton is certainly a big name in Irish basketball and, going by the evidence of what we saw in the National Basketball Arena on Thursday, it won't be too long before CJ is making similar waves in the sport.