Julian Wright pick-up evaluation

Julian Wright made his Tucson debut on Friday. While the top-10 recruit did not dominate, he showed enough to more than live up to the hype. He has a great combination of size and athleticism and there is no doubt he will be a huge get for the program.

You can instantly tell that Wright has talent, but he can also play with talent. He did not put up amazing numbers as a junior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, and didn't really do a whole lot in the pick-up session. He was steady and his skills were apparent, but it is clear that he's only scratched the surface of that talent.

We got our first glimpse of his athleticism early in his first game where he tried to slam home an alley-oop on the break. The pass was bad but Wright went up and got it and almost threw it down will twisting in the air.

They made nothing easy for the big man. They put former Wildcat Corey Williams on him and the veteran forward played him tough on defense. Wright responded well. He worked hard without the ball and made good decisions for the most part. Williams made a few long threes over Wright, but you really couldn't fault his defensive effort.

He runs the floor very well. He finished a few breaks with some big time tomahawk jams and has a good feel for where to be when the team is pushing the ball up the field. He's a very good leaper and hits the glass hard.

One thing you really notice is his ability to pass. He had no problems giving the ball up and made a few highlight worthy passes. He set Channing Frye up for a sweet dunk on one break that almost surprised the Wildcat big man.

His jump shot is very awkward, but that could be a blessing. As it stands the shot needs to improve before Wright can consider a jump to the pros, and that may be one of the few things standing between him and the League. The good news is that he has nice touch and could develop a solid jumper in no time.

Offensively he can be very tough inside. He has a very soft touch on his hook and runners and his ability to get to the offensive glass makes him effective inside. His handle is very good for a big man and he looks to be able to create off the dribble, In his second game he scored back-to-back baskets which propelled his team to a win. His first score came off a tip-in. He followed that up with a drive to the basket and a nice bank shot finish.

He scored a pair of buckets in his next game. He scored off another offensive rebound and then had a big throw down dunk in transition.

Towards the end of the pick-up session Wright started to tire, but that was true of all the participants. As the games went on he started to stand around a lot more and settle for jumpshots. He was not hitting from the outside and that hurt his numbers. He shot much better in warm-ups and by the time he gets to college his jumper will at least be good enough to keep defenders honest.

In some ways Wright is reminiscent of European big men in the fact that he's a tall small forward that can shoot over smaller players or take them down low in the post. Where he differs from his European counterparts is that he is very athletic and can guard small, quick players.

He played very well with the Wildcats. Although it was just a pick-up, some of Lute Olson's systems were being used, but Wright was able to keep up and never looked lost by what was going on.

Wright appeared to be getting along with the current players. He and Jawann McClellan were joking around in warm-ups and several times he turned to older players to ask a question. With is unselfish attitude, Wright would be a nice fit for a team that could use a player who is not afraid to pass, but can fill it up when needed.

NOTES:

*Wright and the Wildcats are slated to play another round of pick-up on Saturday at 2:00.

*Wright visited Illinois last weekend and is slated to visit DePaul next weekend. He says Kansas is involved, but considering they lead for C.J. Miles it is doubtful that Wright would be recruited further if he commits.


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