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Notes (from Canada) on Ryan Wright ...

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Apparently Ryan Wright has been getting maligned by some fans in the greater Bruin online community who are getting impatient with his development just after year. Thank fully most Bruin fans know better. A poster named UpNorth (who actually is from Canada) put up a great post providing a much needed perspective on the situation that I thought was forth sharing here as well. UpNorth provided what I think a deadon perspective on a kid who I believe will turn out allright:

I have both played and then coached high school basketball in Canada. (We practised more than three days a week, by the way.) As a result, I was not tremendously surprised that Ryan Wright struggled with the transition to high level NCAA ball. It is clearly a big cultural leap both on and off the court. I particularly expected him to struggle on D, by the way, and that was definitely the case.

But there are a few things worth remembering. Firstly, Wright is a very athletic big man. He has decent lateral quickness, very good hops and a big body that looks like it will get significantly bigger. He is 6'8 or 6'9 and 230 lbs plus before his body has matured.

Secondly, he did make some positive contributions despite his rawness. I don't think the Bruins would have won at Michigan without him, for example. The comparison to Mata has been raised elsewhere in this thread. Did Mata play a game as a freshman that matched Wright versus Michigan. (That's an honest question, by the way. I truly don't remember.)

Up North then went on to provide some comparsions to Canadian hoopsters who came down to US play some college ball:
Here are some comparisons to Canadians that came down to play US college ball. All three were or are NBA players whose names will be recognized. A fairer comparison might be to a player from the Great White North who eventually had a decent college career but their stats are harder to come by and you wouldn't recognize their names anyways. These three will serve to make a point, however.

Steve Nash is far and away the greatest Canuck to put on sneakers rather than skates. He contriubted as a freshman at mid major Santa Clara but even so he was not the star as a freshman that he would become later. He played 24 minutes per game, score 8.1 ppg, had 2.2 apg and 2.0 turnovers per game... at a much lower level than the Pac 10.

Here's another comparison, Jamaal Magloire, also a big man from the Toronto area, eventually a number one draft choice and an NBA starter. He was physically more developed and several inches bigger than Wright but in his first year at Kentucky he played 15.7 minutes per game, scored 4.9 ppg and 4.4 ppg. That's better than Wright but not in a whole different ballpark. By his senior season, he was scoring 13.2 ppg and grabbing 9.1 rpg on a very deep and balanced Wildcat squad. Frankly, I don't expect Wright to equal Magloire, but I see no reason to suppose that he too will not improve through his college years.

Here's a Pac 10 comparison to another Canadian big man who ended up in the NBA, UW's Todd McCulloch. McCulloch redshirted his freshman year and in his first year on the court, produced numbers pretty similar to Magloire's. He scored 8.8 ppg and grapped 4.8 rpg although he achieved this in only 15 minutes per game. By his junior and senior years McCulloch was scoring over 18 ppg.

And before you think he is comparing Wright's potential to that of Steve Nash, Up North concludes:
I want to be very clear about this. I am not saying that Wright will equal the accomplishments of these three NBA bound Canucks. I will be surprised if he gets a sniff at the NBA. But I do expect him to improve. It would not surprise me if he had stats next year more or less equal to Magloire's first year, 20 + mpg, 8 + ppg and 4 + rpg. That would be a useful contribution to next year's squad. Beyond that I hesitate even to guess.

And one final very general observation. I think we recruitniks tend to overrate high school recruits, most of who we have never seen. Once they arrive, if they are not the stars we expect, we fix our hoop hopes on the next crop to come in. We underestimate the positive effect of maturity, coaching and weight training. It's the basketball version of the "grass is greener on the other side of the hill."

I think it is a little early to run Wright out of the programme

Couldn't agree more with him. Considering how Hollins developed under Howland last year, I am even that much more excited about Ryan. Wright has more upside and room for growth in comparison to Hollins, who seemed to buy into Howland's philsophy of playing defense first not till his senior year. I am fairly confident by the time it is all said and done Wright is going to leave on a high note just like these guys:


AP Photo

Patience people. Believe in Coach Howland. Considering how Ced and Ryan found their ways under his tutelage, I have a very good feeling how Ryan (and his classmates who committed to Coach Howland) will turn out before finishing up in Westwood.

GO BRUINS.