The Wright Stuff

So, just how will Julian Wright fit into the KU offense this season? Kristi Chartrand speaks with head coach Bill Self to find out. His answers may surprise a few...

“The Wright Stuff” – a headline likely to grace Phog.net’s front page more than once during Julian Wright’s Kansas career. The KU staff and the Jayhawk faithful are chomping at the bit to see the 6-8 star from Homewood-Flossmoor High School operate in crimson and blue.

KU’s newest, and most versatile offensive weapon could see action at any position from 1 thru 4.  Head Coach Bill Self is salivating over the options he’ll have with the unselfish Wright. The freshman just might be KU’s jack-of-all-trades this season. At 6-8, he has a power forward’s body and plenty of skill inside, but he also possesses the vision, the passing skill, and the handle of a guard.

“I feel like Julian Wright may be the most versatile player that I’ve coached – ever,” said Self. “There’s going to be different ways that we’ll try to utilize him over time.”

Though the McDonald’s All-American will likely be a starter at the 4-spot, Self has envisioned many different scenarios for Wright, including point guard. The Kansas freshman’s variety of skills presents a challenge for opponents, and a much different test for the KU staff. It’s up to Self to determine exactly how and where Julian can operate with a high success rate, something that may vary from game-to-game.

“How do we get Julian with the ball at the top of the key isolated without an unused dribble?” Self questioned. “Let Mario, or Russell, or Hawk to run out so therefore Julian can bring the ball up because Julian’s really good in the open court,” stated the 3rd year KU coach. “He’s not going to be our prototypical point guard but I guarantee you that he will have the ball in his hands coming up the court more so then any other 6-9 player I’ve ever coached.”

6-9 with the capability to take it from end-to-end? Sounds like a former NBA All-Star who used to don the purple and gold. No one is saying Wright is as good, or will be as good as 6-9 Magic Johnson was. But Julian and Magic’s are both similar; 3-man size coupled with point guard skills.

“We’re going to play him some at the point but it won’t be like he’ll bring it up every time, but when he clears it (rebounds it) I want him to bring it,” Self explained. “I was thinking more like Magic; although a poor man’s, because there’s only one Magic. Magic was a 3-man on that team who played point.”

Self perceives a similar scenario to how former Jayhawk Danny Manning was used back in the late 80’s.  

“Danny Manning was a 5 that could bring the ball up and he was a 4. When Kansas won the national championship there’s no doubt he was the 5. I think we can utilize (Julian) even more so than Danny back then,” Self stated. “We could easily play Sasha (Kaun), and C.J. (Giles) together, and you could have Jeremy Case and Micah Downs in the game -- but where Julian’s the point guard. That could easily happen.”

Julian’s abilities will be fun to watch whether he’s leading the break, or carrying the load on the interior – rest-assured there’s plenty to look forward to in Lawrence from this talented freshman.


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