The Chris Wright Effect
By Camille Powell
Freshman guard Chris Wright needed only seven seconds to make an impact on today's game: He replaced senior Jonathan Wallace with 13 minutes 41 seconds left in the first, and as soon as he touched the ball, he drove the lane and kicked the ball out a wide open Jessie Sapp for a three-pointer.
Wright, who missed the entire conference season with an injured foot, played 15 minutes and hardly looked someone who only started practicing in the last two weeks. He dove on the floor, made 2 of 3 shots from beyond the arc and had four assists in 15 minutes.
"I felt good. I was excited to play," Wright said. "It's the Big East tournament, and I'm trying to help the team win a championship. That's why I'm here."
His teammates were excited to have him back on the court.
"We knew once he had a chance to get back on the floor, he'd bring that extra spark like Patrick [Ewing] does," Wallace said. "He was able to knock down a couple of shots, and that got him feeling good and carried over to defense. He was disruptive. He was an overall force today."
Wright broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot and underwent surgery prior to the season. He played in the first 11 games, averaging 6.2 points and 2.3 assists, but then in early January, the foot started feeling "weak and sore," and he stopped playing.
"I still got three more years to play," Wright said of the decision to rest. "There's no point in killing myself my freshman year and damaging my whole career; hopefully I can play after college. It was just a matter of me getting healthy. This team is good enough that they definitely could get by and win without me. It was just a matter of me getting healthy."
Other postgame notes:
-Patrick Ewing Jr. was icing his right ankle after the game; he fell midway through the second half after pulling up for a three-pointer. He said that he's fine: "I'm always good. Ain't nothing going to slow me down. I don't care if I have to get my legs amputated right now, I'm still going to play. There wouldn't be nothing ya'll would have to worry about."
-Roy Hibbert was thrilled that Wright was back on the court, but wanted to point out that when he was a senior at Georgetown Prep, his team beat Wright's St. John's squad by 20 points or so. That St. John's team also had Villanova's Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson. Wright confirmed that his team lost badly, but added that he scored on a lay-up over Hibbert, despite being just a "5-foot-7 freshman" at the time.
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