‘Dreams Can Come True’
Cashmere Wright is ready to step up as Cincinnati’s leader.
by Ed Isaacson / @nbadraftblog
The Big East has widely been lauded as the toughest conference in the country since its expansion to 16 teams. Styles of play differ so much that players need to be ready for whatever comes their way—both from a physical and a mental standpoint.
Over the last two seasons, no team has embodied that toughness as much as the Cincinnati Bearcats. While the Bearcats will go into next season without departed seniors Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon, the team has been left in the good hands of rising senior point guard Cashmere Wright.
Wright has been a major factor in the back-to-back, 26-win seasons, including a trip to the Sweet 16 this past season, but he has set his goals higher.
“I want to be a better leader of this team,” said Wright, who has been doing two-a-day workouts with his team already. “I want to go further than last year, the Elite Eight or the Final Four.”
Hard work is just part of the equation, and Wright knows getting through the Big East is no small task. “You have to be ready for anything,” Wright explained. “You really have to work on your all-around game because the teams are so different, but all very good.”
Wright didn’t turn into the team’s leader overnight. Head coach Mick Cronin and his staff had a strong hand in shaping not only Wright, but the players who have put on the Cincinnati uniform.
“Coach Cronin has helped me a lot to help me become the player I am now,” Wright said. “He taught me to stay focused, do the right things, and dreams can come true.”
Wright will not be alone as he tries to lead the Bearcats to another big season. Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson and Jaquon Parker are all expected to play bigger roles in ’12-13.
Despite the help, Wright knows he still has work to do. “My strength is being a leader and handling the team through any situation,” Wright explained. “I knew I wasn’t going to be one of the primary scorers, so I had to do other things to make things happen for the team.”
The loss of Gates and Dixon will force him to do some other things, though. “I am going to need to do a lot more on the offensive end,” Wright said.
The adjustment shouldn’t be difficult. Wright is coming off a season where he averaged almost 11 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists per game. All he needs to do is focus on doing what he does well, and the Bearcats should be on their way again to a successful season.
“Our goal is to win the National Championship,” Wright said. “I want to help guide my team as far as we can go, and do whatever needs to be done to get there.”
It’s that kind of determination and understanding of his role which will not only help the Bearcats to a likely successful season, but should also have NBA scouts paying close attention to how he does it. Being a true leader is one of the rarest qualities to find, and Wright is on his way to being one.