The stars were definitely out Saturday night and the 16.000 fans that came to watch them left U.S. Bank satisfied the show. The game was filled with breathtaking plays by arguably to top player NOT playing professional basketball, O.J. Mayo… high flying dunks by his teammate Bill Walker, the versatility and balance of the entire Oak Hill squad.
GoBlueWolverine was amongst the throng of media (including ESPN and Sports Illustrated) witnessing those superstars at work, but the primary reason for our attendance was the presence of future Michigan Wolverine, Anthony Wright. Looking every bit the 6-6.5 230-lbs he is listed at, Wright played a key role in helping Oak Hill jump on Mayo & company early.
The shooting ability that Oak Hill coach Steve Smith trumpeted when describing Wright to GBW last month was on full display. His first shot was hoisted from behind the arc as he trailed in transition, and found nothing but the bottom of the net. He made the Trojans pay from deep again when he nailed his next bucket from deep in the right corner. Wright later fell short of being perfect from long range when his third attempt rimmed off. Obvious in that 2/3 performance was his very nice form, his penchant for being shot-ready, and his great confidence.
Wright doesn't spend much time in the paint because of the presence of super sophomore Michael Beasley, but he did round out his first half production with a shot fake from the elbow before driving in for an easy lay-up. He finished with 13 points in Oak Hill's 88-74 victory.
After spending the last few years backing up Josh Smith, Eric Devendorf, and Jeffrey Allen, Wright's contributions are now of more significance in this his senior season. The countless hours he spent working on his game not resulted in a spot in the starting lineup on the most talented laden squad in the country, but in interest from major colleges as well.
"I got a letter from (Michigan) when I was a freshman, but I didn't hear anything else for about three years," recalled Wright. "They got back on me last November. I know Coach Jackson came out to watch me play in December and Coach Swenson came down to watch me in Houston. Coach Amaker came when I was down in North Carolina. I had a pretty good game when he was there. I called Coach Swenson because Coach Amaker left early and I was like, "was he mad at me or something?' He said, 'no' and called up Coach Amaker. That's when he told me he was offering me. I committed about three days after that."
"St. Johns was the other school at the end," continued Wright. "It was just really those two schools. There were about 20 mid-major schools too, but I wasn't really interested them. I didn't work on my game so hard to go to a mid major school. I'm from a small town in Virginia called Sterling. I just had to get out and move on to something bigger and better, so I started at Oak Hill my sophomore year. It was sort of the same thing with college. Waiting to choose a school paid off in the end. I picked Michigan because it's a really good school overall, basketball wise and academically. The alumni is great. The school overall is great!"
With his college destination now set, Wright has begun to think about how he might fit into his future team. Based on his conversations with the coaching staff in Ann Arbor, he feels his versatility will be put to good use. "I'll play mostly the three at Michigan," he said. "Really, they said I'll play wherever I'm needed; on the wing, posting up…whatever they need me to do. I can shoot. I can bang down low if the need me to, and I can shoot (smiling). I also play defense."
Photos taken by Andre Barthwell