Returning Players - Joel Wright

By Steve DiMiceli
Discuss this post on Yuku

Joel Wright (Career Points: 110)

I know what all of you are expecting. Four paragraphs of me gushing over Joel Wright and his potential like the little fan boy I am. If you thought that, you're wrong. I'm going to do it in five paragraphs (including this one). Joel is the third member of our dynamic freshman class I'll be looking at, but this isn't just a recap of his season, it's a love story about a pure and innocent man crush.

It all started one Saturday in autumn. It was a nice afternoon so I decided to walk to the AJ Palumbo center for the Blue and Red game. I hadn't seen Joel play before, but I was intrigued by the nickname Air Jamaica. He certainly lived up to his name in that exhibition. He was long, and great jumper. He played with intensity and a brash cockiness that I like to see in a young athlete. Some might have even called him down right dirty. I knew he was the power forward for me when he dunked on Damian in the final seconds of the last exhibition set.

Ok, back to a slightly less biased, more hetero-sexual tone. In fairness, Joel played well at times, but struggled at others. I think it might be fair to call his season mediocre in spite of a very promising run from IUPUI to Norfolk St. He averaged 10 points per game during that stretch but didn't see double digits again the rest of the season. He also saw his minutes cut after tripping a St Bonaventure player in Olean. Side note: he did it on purpose. I know Ron defended him. However, it looked blatant and his playing time reduction afterwards really made me feel like he was in the dog house. His raw rebounding and scoring minutes were pretty impressive in spite of his slumping minutes. His finishing was off at times, but, he might have been the best player on the team at boxing opponents out. That's a pretty backhanded complement though.

Moving Forward

I don't think I'm the only one who thinks Joel is loaded with promise. Ron did, too. He gave Joel the same kind of tough love he gave BJ, Damian, Bill and Rodrigo (who I know he thought had tons of potential) early in their careers. He would give them minutes and as soon as they made a mistake they could control...YANK... he's out of the game. If your biggest fan is your biggest critic, Ron was a big fan of Wright.  Joel still has a lot of work to do on his fundamentals at both sides. He is still sloppy with the ball. He still doesn't finish as quickly or as strong as he is capable. He seems to process the game a little slower and doesn't make the quick decisions that will come with experience.  He also seems to commit the occasional frustration foul.

I think I'm so optimistic about his future, because Joel's areas of weakness are areas that he can improve with hard work and playing time. He has the size and athletic ability to play power forward. He is gritty, tough and plays aggressively. He plays with swagger. He has the fight in him to win games. He seems to be a guy who could become a leader. He's already become a better team player. At the Red and Blue game, Joel hogged the ball like it was the 6th grade Catholic League Championship.  By the end of the season, he was learning to trust his teammatesr. I think he could be become pretty strong on the ball in the future, too. I've run into some hot debate for comparing him to Saunders. Do I think he'll match Saunders? In some areas, it's possible, but  no one in a Duquesne uniform will probably ever match Saunders for his versatility. Wright certainly will not. However, I think he will beat Saunders in the most important statistic of all: Winning.

Grade B-

What he needs to do to get the A:

10 PPG
1.5 APG
>.75 A/TO