Former Syracuse guard bolsters uOttawa men’s basketball
Josh Wright’s sinewy shoulders may have dropped the weight of the world on this side of the border.
The 22-year-old fourth-year point guard, formerly of NCAA Division-One Syracuse –once a top projected can’t-miss American high school prospect – has left his home region, school and country for an 18-month sports and life turnaround in Canada with Gee-Gees men’s basketball.
“It’s about going through ups and downs and becoming a man,” said Wright, a six-foot-two point guard from Utica, New York, who joined the Gee-Gees in late December.
“Mentally challenging yourself to be better, on and off the court.”
Wright yo-yoed between a starting spot and the end of the bench with the Orange, lasting four games into his senior season before leaving the team December 15, 2007 following an alleged clash with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
“I left for personal reasons. I really don’t want to discuss it too much,” said Wright, who was also arrested in August, 2008 after being suspected of stealing a credit card from a female friend. The case was eventually dismissed.
“It was a misunderstanding that dragged along for a few months,” said Wright. “I was cleared of all charges and I am moving on.”
The Gee-Gees have welcomed Wright, the middle child in a family of nine, with open arms.
“This makes us a better team, no doubt,” said Gee-Gees head coach David DeAveiro, who spoke sympathetically about Wright.
“I don’t know what it is like to be an All-American. I don’t know what it is like to play at a Division-One school in front of 25,000 fans.
“I can believe the amount of pressure on his shoulders to succeed was probably more than any one guy is used to.“
Wright will attend Social Science classes as an international student at uOttawa starting Tuesday before joining the Gee-Gees for a 6:00 p.m. practice at Montpetit Hall.
The speedy six-foot-two Wright will not start during his Gee-Gees regular season debut Friday night as 7-1 uOttawa hosts Ryerson (5-4) at 8:00 p.m. The Gee-Gees also host Toronto (6-3) Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.
“He gives us a certain dynamic that we really haven’t seen before,” said Gee-Gees fifth-year forward and captain David Labentowicz. “His game is something that helps everyone gets better.”
Wright played over 20 minutes in each of his first three games with the Gee-Gees, scoring just under 17 points per game with 10 assists and four rebounds for a bronze medal finish at the 2009 Wesmen Classic tournament at Winnipeg December 28-30.
“Becoming a better person and becoming a better player,” said Wright.
“That’s all I can do.”