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Friday, December 22nd, 2006 at 12:34 pm  |  20 responses

Chris Wright Q&A

A conversation with the DC area baller, a top 25 player in the nation.

By Aggrey Sam

As someone who’s written a decent amount of features for the PUNKS section of SLAM, as well as few for the PUNKS special issue, I get to see and talk to a lot of high school players. While there are a lot of great hoops hotbeds throughout the country, the DC metro area (which includes the Maryland suburbs and Northern VA) is always among the best.

I recently spoke to one of the area’s top players, 6-0, 190-pound point guard Chris Wright of St. John’s College High School in the District, which plays in one of the nation’s most competitive league’s, the WCAC (Washington Catholic Athletic Conference). Wright, who signed with Georgetown in the fall, is the proverbial straw that stirs the drink for St. John’s, which is the Washington Post’s current No. 1-ranked team in the area (although they’ll probably take a hit after Tuesday night’s one-point loss to league rival Paul VI of VA). He’s a kid who’s been a local name for a while now, ever since he was a 6-year-old playing (and holding his own) with his older brother’s middle school-aged AAU team.

A high school basketball beat writer for a DC newspaper described Wright, who’s currently averaging just under 24 ppg, as “a good of a scorer you’re going to find on the high school level. He can shoot, take the ball to the basket and he’s smart on top of that.”

Added scout Van Johnson (more from him later), Wright “knows when his team needs him to score and knows when his team needs him to distribute the ball. He’s a legit top-25 player in the nation.”

Wright discussed his commitment to Georgetown, his rivalry with future teammate Austin Freeman, the recruiting process, his favorite players, his workout routine and more. Basically, this an opportunity to learn more about a kid you’ll see on TV for the next few years. With no further adieu, here’s Chris Wright…

On committing to Georgetown:
It was mostly Coach Thompson. He basically personally recruited me himself. I felt comfortable with the team and felt we could win a championship my freshman year. Just being home, the school, the team. He didn’t promise me anything, but he said I have a very good chance to play big minutes as a freshman. I don’t know if I’m gonna start, but if I don’t I know I’ll contribute. There were too many schools on the east coast for me to follow Coach Sendek to Arizona State (Chris previously committed to NC State, before Herb Sendek was fired and subsequently hired by Arizona State). Freshman year, we’re winning the chip. Mark my words.

On playing with high school rival and fellow DC area top senior Austin Freeman (Dematha) in college:

Actually, we’re real good friends. We’re enemies on the court because of the rivalry, but off the court we’re the best of friends. I always wanted to play with Austin. We had chances to play with each other (in AAU), but it never worked out. This time, when he called me to play on his team, the timing was right. We know that Georgetown is coming back. Me and Austin are both anxious to get there. We know we’re gonna be a part of something good and we just wanna keep it going.

On Georgetown’s Princeton-style offense:
People call it the Princeton offense, but in the Princeton offense people don’t usually have the opportunity to create for themselves. They just haven’t had the players where they can be creative as a team.

On the best players he’s played against:
Ty Lawson (UNC freshman point guard) and Nigel Munson (Virginia Tech freshman point guard). Both are very crafty and know the game very well. Tywon’s just so explosive and Nigel’s just one of those players that with his handle, you can’t take the ball from him and you can’t leave him open because he can knock down shots.

On his most memorable experience:
It had to be Dematha, my sophomore year, in the playoffs. We lost by one and I  missed the game-winning shot. For my best game, I’d say it was when I dropped 53 on eight threes in an AAU game.

On the player he’s most likely to match up with:
OJ Mayo because, to me, he’s too cocky. I mean, he’s good, but I don’t know how good he really is.

On who he most looks forward to matching up with in college:
Just the whole Big East. Villanova, with Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes and those guys. Syracuse, with Johnny Flynn and Scoop.

On his goals for the season:
To win the WCAC (DC’s Catholic league, arguably the toughest high school league in the nation) championship and the City Title game (DC’s Catholic league champ vs. DC’s public league champ). For myself, to go All-met for the third time and win All-Met player of the year.

On making the McDonald’s All-American game:
Those things are politics. It’s no way that Paul Harris (Syracuse freshman) should not have made the McDonald’s game last year. I wanna make it, but if I don’t, I wont cry over it.

On the strengths of his game:
My speed and quickness and ability to create shots for other players.

On his weaknesses:
Full court man-to-man defense.

On his favorite high school player to watch:
Austin (Freeman) because he can score in so many ways. People don’t know, but he’s explosive. He will dunk on you.

On his favorite college player to watch:
Dominic James and Kevin Durant. Dominic is quicker than me, but I think we’re kinda similar. He’s just exciting to watch, like when he destroyed Duke on national TV. That was ridiculous. With Kevin, he can take over a game whenever he wants to.

On his favorite NBA players to watch:
AI and Chris Paul. I try to combine of both of them in my game.

On the craziest thing a coach did during his recruiting process:
A coach flew into my game (in DC) the same night after playing on the west coast.

On what he hated the most about the recruiting process:
The constant calls. Sometimes it’s just like, leave me alone.

On what NCAA rules he would change:
No SATs because the SAT is a way of keeping players out of college and a way of keeping great players from getting to the next level. (For the record, Chris is fully qualified for freshman eligibility and has a 3.48 GPA)

On his summer workout routine:
I work out every day in the summer. I lift weights three times a week, I shoot every day. Most days, I wake up around 8 and get in the gym by 9. Then I shoot for a couple hours, eat and lift weights for two hours. Then I shoot again, play pickup or go to Barry Farms (to play in the Goodman League, one of DC’s top summer leagues). As far as drills, I do a lot of ballhandling drills, full-court dribbling, stopping on a dime and shooting threes, all types of moves. I put up about 1,000 shots a day. I usually work out with my brother, OJ Wright (a junior at Bowie State, a strong D2 program)

On his top five high school players, by position:
At point guard, I have to pick myself. At the two, I’d say Eric Gordon. My man Austin at the three. Mike Beasley at the four. And I gotta say Kevin Love at the five.

I also spoke to Van Johnson about who he considers the best players in the region. Johnson is the head of scouting for Game Plan Sports, which runs the summer Nike Pro City League in DC, the Nike Peach Jam AAU tourney in Georgia and the Bay Ball Classic holiday high school tourney in Delaware. Here are his top 10 seniors in the DC area:

1. Austin Freeman, 6-5 wing, Dematha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, MD), Georgetown, pure scorer is a top-10 national player who can get buckets from anywhere on the court
2. Chris Wright, 6-1 point guard, St. John’s College High School, (Washington, DC), committed to Georgetown, strong and heady lead guard will help continue the Hoyas’ resurgence
3. John Flowers, 6-8 combo forward, St. Mary’s Ryken (Leonardtown, MD), West Virginia, versatile and athletic kid who will contribute immediately in college
4. Darnell Dodson, 6-6 wing, Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, MD), Pittsburgh, prolific shooter is adding strength and expanding his game before hitting the Big East
5. Jerai Grant, 6-9 power forward, Dematha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, MD), Clemson, son of former NBA player Harvey Grant and nephew of Horace has come on strong in past year
6. Anthony McClain, 7-0 center, National Christian Academy (Fort Washington, MD), considering Connecticut, Florida and Georgetown, man in the middle is waiting until spring to make decision
7. Mike Davis, 6-8 combo forward, T.C. Williams High School (Alexandria, VA), A-10 recruit, likely headed to prep school, may get ACC and Big East offers
8. Jayde Gavin, 6-1 combo guard, Bishop McNamara High School (Forestville, MD), Marist, pure shooter is an absolute steal for low-D1 school
9. Adrian Bowie, 6-3 combo guard, Montrose Christian School (Rockville, MD), Maryland, steady senior who hit game-winner to beat Oak Hill last season is now leader of young, nationally-ranked squad
10. Augustus “Gus” Gilchrist, 6-9 power forward, Progressive Christian Academy (Camp Springs, MD), Virginia Tech, true post player will be a factor in the ACC

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  • Jake Appleman

    Good to see the other top hs Chris Wright get some love. I think I can safely say that I’m friends with the other Chris Wright’s mom.

  • E money bagz

    ha good Q&A mang. keep that shit commin

  • scott

    Why must Chris Wright hate on OJ Mayo? Wright will never play a minute in the NBA but Mayo will be a top 5 draft pick. I sense someone being jealous.

  • Steve

    Scott, why are you hatin on Chris? The kid was expressing how he feels. He has played against Mayo so if he feels OJ is too cocky why can’t he say it. Oh I know, it’s not politically correct. A true hater is one who predicts with certainty that a top 25 high school kid who is still developing will never play pro.

  • scott

    Steve: If anybody is cocky it would be Mr. Wright. Georgetown will win the tourney in 2008 mark it down. I’m the best point guard in high school. Did he forget about Derrick Rose? Some scouting services don’t have Wright in the top 50. Whatever, we all have different opinions but I don’t think Wright has to take a shot at Mayo.

  • http://N/A Kent

    I can say I’m amazed at what I see from Chris…my son played on Chris’dads AAU along with his older brother O.J. Yes Chris was amazing and I think the people that really knew or know his pops and moms and brother know Chris was destined to be successful in his endeavors with basketball…His pops did a really “great” job with Chris…I have one of those games on tape with my son and Chris and his brother playing in a game…too funny…this kid was demanding the ball then…lol…great article…kb

  • BETCATS

    i want. OJ needs to stop killin white ladies. R.I.P white ladies

  • BETCATS

    the i want is ther in contex of ‘I want Oj to’ and take out ‘needs to’ and it will make sense

  • doc

    He thinks hes the best. Aint nothin wrong with that. What he supposed to say OJ will bus my ass.

  • Ryan Jones

    BET, I think you learned to write by watching BET.

  • Gmoney

    Scott, as Oj’s public defender-and you are entitled to your opinion- please help me out here…chris is hatin because he said that “Oj is good but is cocky”..OOK… he did play against Oj in the 17u AAU National championship this past summer,yes Oj played in the 17 u nationals …It’s quite possible his perspective comes from that encounter….so one of the top guards country is not supposed to think that he is the best point guard..OOK!I am missing something here.In this interview i found him to very honest and transparent.He believes that he and Austin will be “part” of something special wether he starts or not and they believe they have a chance to win the “chip in their freshman year – I like that attitude.As far as the pros are concerned “one never knows does one”,D Wade was 200 or 300 in the rankings etc etc…..any way both of these young men will make a great living playing basketball…Chill dude…no one is hatin but you…

  • BETCATS

    Spellin aint one of my top 25 talents because i never evar payed attention and used English class in Middle and High School as a time to try and get wit girls at my schools. Now i work at the 3rd differnt Wal-Mart and cant get any other job

  • bulletproof

    I just saw Chris Wright play at the BBC (Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC) and I was really impressed by his ability to score the ball. He can score in a variety of ways (pull ups, takes to the tin, 3′s). He scored 30+ in all three games that I watched. I don’t follow HS ball all that much but I knew this kid was a player after watching him this past weekend.

  • Ekam

    BETCATS YOUR A MINOR LEAGUE THAT DIDNT GET ANY WHERE IN B BALL so stop dissing lil kids like me u asswhole

  • BETCATS

    EKAM where did u come up with the idea i balled in high-school never did i couldnt keep my grades up…stop cursin and actin hard cause u have offered various men to get blow jobs from u….also if u dont wanna get dissed stop say dumb ass shit..also never in your asshole go get a bitch bitch

  • matty p

    i think he’s right, OJ is too cocky.

  • ultimate

    Is they paying u guys out of pocket to suck on them like that or is it by choose.i say both of them is mad nice.

  • formerballer

    I saw Chris Wright play and I mean the Chris that has committed to G-Town. He can play. On the night I saw him, McNamara beat his team at the buzzer. Chris fouled out and was not able to help his team eek out a victory. Chris is not perfect and there always is room for improvement. He picked up his dribble too quickly on one ocassion that lead to a silly turnover. Chris Wright certainly can improve on the little things. He can force shots at time because he is the only option. He needs to get his teammates more involve in the efforts. I saw Chris play as a sophomore. He played well then. I missed his play as a junior. I saw him play as a senior. His future is bright. He still needs to continue his development and I know he will.

  • http://jfb6122000yahoo.com John B

    Very happy that Chris is going to Georgetown him and Austin will be a great tandom together, it was also great playing with you at Barry Farms. Good Luck with your grades and B-Ball skills. Holla at Anthony about G-town!!!

  • d boy

    let them boys play

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