August 24, 2015

Wright merits looks

Kevin McCarthy

Some say the Oakland Athletic League (OAL) is a shell of its former self in turning out basketball prospects. However, Michael Wright of McClymonds High is doing his best to alter that perception.

photo of Nikiya Bechtle

A 6-foot-6, 2016 class prospect, Wright takes to the court in spring and summer with the DBC Sage team headed by longtime Bay Area basketball fixture Jon Vinson, currently the Envision High boys varsity coach.

According to Vinson, “Michael handles it very well and creates, he can shoot from long distance and is long on defense, with good timing on his shotblocking. He is always working on his game and is a great kid.”

After participating May 9 in the Bay Area Showcase a few months back, another set of kudos was extended: “skilled and scrappy player with a soft touch around the rim. Under the radar 2016 athlete that carries above a 3.0 GPA. Michael has a knack for rebounding and gets many of his points from offensive rebounding. His body frame and size give him that advantage. He has a motor and definitely makes his presence on the floor known with his leadership. An OAL (Oakland Athletic League) athlete that is on the rise and to be on the lookout for this summer.”

From the most recent Nor Cal Summer Tipoff came this: "Inside-out wing who has a big body and long arms, aggressive to the rim, good shooter from 3, can post up and finish, scores in a variety of ways, high motor and plays hard all the time.”

So what does Wright say about his basketball skills? “I have a high basketball IQ. I see teammates on the court and I can penetrate as well as being a pretty good finisher. I can also rebound. I'm comfortable shooting and handling the ball.”

Answering the inevitable followup question regarding the development of his basketball savviness, Wright explained, “I got it from my experience playing as a kid, watching college games and looking at guys like Michael Jordan and how they approached the game.”

What may have also played a role is his different positioning with McClymonds and Sage DBC. That is, "with McClymonds, we have no big players so I play the four and a little five. That makes me comfortable playing with my back-to-the-basket. With Sage, I also get to play outside [the key].” Playing from these dual viewpoints has aided Wright's development in knowing when to do what on the court.

He views his role as “keeping the team focused. The role was there to take and I filled it.” McClymonds is coming off a 21-9 season, 9-1 in the OAL with a strong coterie of returnees.

Speaking in the lingo of a point guard, he sees his best basketball moments as not anything singularly accomplished but “when I get everyone involved.”

What's unique to Wright is he started his sports participation with baseball. Then it was soccer—“I wasn't fast enough”—followed by football. Ultimately, it became basketball only even though he came to it the latest.

He cites his Dad as his biggest basketball influence because “we talk more about basketball than anything else.”

Recruiting thus far has generally been from the DII level and Wright's wide open to possibilities. “I kind of want to see the world.” As to a college major, he is looking to major in business with the idea of working in the entrepreneurial field.

Multi-positional, good sized, assorted skills, someone who plays hard, here's a young men definitely worth a look.