In a recent post from SI.com, the website compiled a list predicting which sophomores are poised to have a breakout season. La Salle forward Jerrell Wright placed second on their list.The lefty big-man comes off of a freshman season in which he started every game with the exception of one while leading the team in field goal percentage, a feat that was good for third best in the Atlantic-10 (57.3 percent). The freshman also the led team in blocks (36) and rebounds (191).
The only knock on the 19-year-old’s individual stats was getting into foul trouble early in games. This stat accounts for the low 19.8 minutes a game he averaged, but he corrected the deficiency late in the year.
Wright’s exuberance on the court earned him rookie honors in a list of categories that apply to first-year players. The Philadelphia native was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Rookie team to go along with Big 5 Rookie of the Year. Wright finished his freshman campaign ranked second among A-10 first years in rebounding and third in scoring.
Alluding to similar freshman contributions from former big men playing at the college ranks, kenpom.com compares the performance of NBA forward J.J Hickson in his freshman year at North Carolina State. Following his one year in Raleigh, Hickson made the leap to the NBA and has logged minutes for the Cleveland Cavaliers since being drafted in 2008.
Wright is no Hickson but his role on this team is parallel to that of the former Wolfpack great. Head coach John Giannini has been high on Wright since the 6’8” big man committed after his junior year in high school.
With the Explorers facing a less than stellar non-conference schedule, at La Salle Wright has the ability and potential to take this program to a level even high than their NIT finish last season. Look for Wright to only get better in his second season at La Salle.
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