Sure, winning in college basketball is about finding stars on the recruiting trail. But if you’re not Kentucky or Duke or North Carolina or a handful of other programs that can run out a lineup of five NBA players, winning is just as much about finding players like Jordan Wright.
Wright was Jerry Stackhouse’s first recruit at Vanderbilt, at least if you don’t count Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu, Bryce Drew recruits whom Stackhouse had to put in at least a little effort to keep in the fold. The #331 player in the 247 Sports composite ranking for the Class of 2019, who picked Vanderbilt over Tulane, Wright probably wasn’t a guy we were expecting much from. And, as a freshman, we didn’t get much: 5.7 points per game, but that wasn’t particularly efficient.
As a sophomore, well, he started to morph into the kind of player you need to have around, on any team. He averaged 8.7 ppg, which came while increasing his 3-point percentage from an awful 15 percent as a freshman to an actually quite good 43 percent as a sophomore (though shooting 65 percent at the foul line suggests that he’s probably going to see some regression to the mean in 2021-22.) He also averaged a decent number of rebounds and steals — the kind of hustle plays that you just need to have.
Overall, Wright probably isn’t a guy who I want playing the third-most minutes on the team, granted, he only finished that way because Dylan Disu missed eight games to injury. But he should be a contender for the Corey Smith/Steve Tchiengang Memorial Glue Guy Award in the next couple of years.