Much has changed in Champlin (Minn.) point guard McKinley Wright's recruitment since the onset of the spring evaluation period two weeks ago.
Most obvious is the increased interest. The likes of Minnesota, Nebraska and Xavier have all offered and others are now calling. Then there are the new relationships. That’s where things have changed most when it comes to Wright and longtime suitor Iowa State.
With assistant T.J. Otzelberger off to South Dakota State as its new head coach, Wright is now developing a deeper relationship with Iowa State’s Steve Prohm and a fresh relationship with his new lead recruiter, Iowa State staffer Neill Berry.
“I still talk to them a lot,” Wright said of Iowa State. “I’m building a better relationship with Coach Prohm and he tells me I’m still a big priority for Iowa State, so I appreciate that. Coach Berry was in Dallas and this past weekend in Atlanta, Coach Prohm was there at all of my games. He still lets me know that they still need me as their 2017 point guard and how much they want me still.”
There is no question Wright sits highly on the Cyclones’ 2017 wishlist.
Iowa State was one of the first schools to offer Wright when it did so last September and the staff has prioritized him since. The Cyclones see some similarities between Wright and soon-to-be senior Monte Morris, who they hope Wright can replace.
Wright’s three new offers in the last two weeks joined a list that already included Illinois, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Creighton and Dayton. Oklahoma has shown strong interest and Clemson and Iowa are two new schools who have been watching and calling recently.
“It’s been crazy. The recruiting process has picked up tremendously,” Wright said. “I’m getting a whole bunch of new calls. Building a relationship, that’s big time, so that’s what I’m working on right now.”
That includes his new relationship with Berry, who immediately filled Otzelberger’s void in Wright’s recruitment after his departure from Iowa State.
“He stepped in as the main recruiter and he talks to me pretty much every day,” Wright said. “He texts me and asks me how I’m doing and stuff. It’s going well. He’s a little different than T.J., but we’re still building a good relationship. He’s on me a lot. I can tell he loves his job and he likes being the main recruiter.”
Wright, who visited Iowa State in January, plans a return trip to Ames this summer, most likely sometime in June. He still plans to likely make a decision in either September or October following official visits.
For now, his recruitment remains an open race.
“Having a good relationship with my coaches, going somewhere where I trust the coach and the coach trusts me and somewhere where I’m needed,” Wright said when asked what his key factors will be. “Somewhere I can help the team go in the right direction and somewhere where I’ll come in and play.”