Wright and Wrong: UW Forward Benched For Nearly Entire Game

Dan Raley

When the season began, the Washington basketball team had just one returning starter.

One experienced player to rely on.

One guy who would show everyone else how it's done.

Hameir Wright, however, has been a microcosm of a Huskies season in total collapse: Struggling beyond belief. Rendered useless. Missing in action.

He played just 65 seconds against UCLA on Saturday night and was removed from the game, left on the bench for the remainder of the 67-57 defeat.

So much for institutional knowledge. 

Wright, never a big scorer, has gone without points in two of his past three outings. 

The 6-foot-9 junior from Albany, New York, has disappeared from the action after starting 51 of 58 games for the Huskies. He is the first big casualty of playing time among the first-teamers.

"I'm just trying to keep my spirits up," Wright said a few weeks ago. "This is a new experience for me, losing like this. We can't let it overwhelm us." 

It's a far cry from the basketball recruit that UW coach Mike Hopkins promoted after bringing him from the East Coast  when Hopkins left Syracuse and took over the Huskies program.

"He has a high basketball IQ," Hopkins said, "and is going to be a great foundation for the class."

Wright has never been anything close to a foundation, averaging just 2.7, 2.3 and 5.5 points per game. He's been a support player at best. 

Lost in all of the UW losing has been Wright's career-high 14 points scored against Arizona State two weeks ago, and just one of his four double-digit outings turned in  this season.

Hopkins said this upperclassman provides things that don't readily appear in a box score, such as leadership, defense and boxing out, not necessarily statistical things.

Yet sitting on the bench for nearly an entire game doesn't do the Huskies any good.  

How Wright recovers from this personnel setback should be as interesting as it is challenging.