Dayton's Wright Takes "Flyght"

Future Dayton Flyer Chris Wright seized an opportunity to expand his name and his game at the Nike Skills Academy last week. Numerous accounts named Wright as the breakout performer of the camp. Next up for Wright is the NBAPA event.

Everybody knew Chris Wright was a good player. The 6-foot-6 small forward out of Trotwood (Ohio) Trotwood-Madison cracked Scout.com's Top 50 last summer and is currently No. 88 on the list of Class of 2007 standouts.

When the invites went out to the Nike Skills Academy, Chris Wright's name was among the 20 or so kids invited to participate in the elite level camp. If there was a surprise name on the list, he would have been that guy.

Even Wright himself, a Dayton commitment, was caught off guard by the invitation. "I was a little surprised but I just knew that if I got invited I had to seize the opportunity," Wright said.

By all accounts, Wright's athleticism and potential was on display at last week's camp and he created as much buzz for himself as anyone in attendance, especially when you consider that most players in the camp were widely considered to be Top 25 prospects in their respective classes.

"With Chris you get caught up on focusing on his athleticism," Nike All-American Camp Director Sherman Dillard said. "Sometimes you miss the fact that he's a highly skilled athlete.

"In my opinion he was the biggest surprise (of the camp). It was because he created space, got lane and more importantly made jumpers. It's a credit to him."

The key word in Dillard's assessment seems to be "made jumpers." Going into the summer the obvious knock on Wright dealt with how he would score. He's not just a good athlete, he's an elite athlete but his perimeter game needed attention and he knew it. For Wright to soar, the jumper needed to find the bottom of the net more.

"Before that camp I really didn't have a lot of confidence in my jump shot and my defense wasn't as tight as it is now," Wright said. "Sometimes I have the tendency to float around on the perimeter and not crash the boards like I was supposed to.

"I feel that I'm better now than I was during the season and I'm a lot stronger. Since I've been working on my ball handling I feel that's better too and I have way more confidence in my shot and my mid-range game is better."

Wright, who is appropriately nicknamed "Flyght" (Wright tweaked the spelling), took note of the camp roster and armed with more confidence in his own game, set out to make his move.

"Going to the camp I was listening to the names that were going to be there and I was just thinking that I belonged there and I took it as a blessing. I told myself that I have to belong here and that drove me to work harder. I think it was just something inside of me, I don't know where it came from. It was a drive to work harder than anybody there.

"I'm not into the rankings. People were asking what I was ranked and I didn't even know. Something was clicking in my mind. I wasn't angry personally but it was something that just made me go harder."

OK, so Wright has made his mark. He's taken the first step toward moving up the charts and now its time to show that he can go out and do it each time he steps on the floor. His next opportunity comes very soon at the NBA Players Association Camp.

"The camp was OK but I know I'm not done yet," Wright said. "That was kind of the beginning of it. I'm still hungry and I'm not satisfied yet. I'm just doing to keep on working.

"When you go to a camp like that and are around those type of players and do a good job, when you come back to where you're from you come back with so much confidence because you came from a setting like that. You have so much confidence because of the work you just put in with some of the best players in the nation."


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