UW Season in Review: Nothing Wrong with Wright if Used Right

We review the season performance of each of the Huskies' top 11 players over the next 11 days.
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Hameir Wright has been by Mike Hopkins side for the coach's entire four-year stay at the University of Washington, the only Husky basketball player who can make that claim.

He's experienced the NCAA tournament, a Pac-12 championship, a last-place finish.

Longevity aside, though, the 6-foot-9 Wright from Albany, New York, represents one of the more confounding UW players in some time. 

He's been extremely well-utilized — appearing in 121 games and starting 79 times —yet his statistical productivity is best described as overly modest if not sorely deficient.

On Saturday, for instance, Wright led the Huskies' with a career-high 18 points, hitting 6 of 8 shots, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range, before fouling out in a 75-74 loss at Arizona. Still, Wright's weekend output marked just the eighth time in his UW career that he's even finished in double figures. 

Hopkins finds great value in this upperclassman, identifying benefits that extend beyond the box score.

"He's been so good for us defensively for so long," Hopkins said in Tucson. "I think he gets under-appreciated. Tonight, he was who he can be."

With the Huskies off for 11 days before resuming play in the Pac-12 tournament, we'll size up the play for each of the 11 players who has received minutes with a game on the line during a dismal 5-20 season (4-16 conference, which is good for 11th place). Ten scholarship recipients and 7-foot-4 walk-on Riley Sorn.

Wright is either a game or two from his career coming to end. Or he returns for a fifth season by taking advantage of the eligibility free pass offered by the NCAA to compensate for the pandemic-interrupted season. He hasn't decided what he'll do.

"I haven't really put much thought into it yet, especially with the season still looming and a lot of season still left to go," he said. "I'm also still working on getting my degree, so that's my next thing."

While a model citizen and fairly well-spoken, Wright is not a fan favorite.

Impatient team followers point to his numbers. Or lack of them. They heavily criticize him online.

Following the Arizona game, they noted how Wright supplied just a lone rebound to go with his 18 points over 30 minutes of play. 

Even with his exemplary long-range effort against the Wildcats, he's typically not a serious 3-point threat. He averages just 27.7 percent from beyond the arc. Opposing teams sag on him and encourage him to shoot.

He's had off-target games of 2-for-12, 3-for-10, 2-for-10 and 1-for-10 this season.

He has barely-there career averages of 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

If Wright were to return, the Husky coaches should make him develop more of an inside game and limit his 3-point opportunities. They might consider using him off the bench. Make him a role player rather than a focal player. 

Get creative to uncover the Wright stuff. It's in there.

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven

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