St. John's College point guard Chris Wright tallied 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists to lead the Cadets past Southern Durham 66-50 in the opening round of the Glaxo Invitational.
St. John's College, considered one of the favorites to win the tournament, jumped out to an early 17-4 lead behind nine quick points from Wright and never looked back.
"We got off to a very good start this afternoon," St. John's head coach Paul DeStefano said. "Southern made a good run to cut it to nine at the half, we came out in the second half and did a good job.
"Defensively our zone was good and we contained their big guys."
"It was important because we needed to come out with momentum early in the game," said Wright. "It was important that we came out focused. Especially on the road against a North Carolina team, it was important to get out to an early lead."
Wright, a well-built, 6-foot-1, 190-pound point guard prospect, was clicking on all cylinders. He hit 8-of-16 field goals and connected on 6-of-7 free throws while knocking down 2-of-4 3-pointers. In addition to his 24 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists, Wright added three steals.
A proven commodity on the high school level, several high-profile coaches were in attendance to watch the five-star prospect.
|Skip Prosser and Jay Wright|
Wright admits that his recruitment is starting to take off.
"My recruitment is starting to get thick," he said. "A couple of other schools are starting to get interested in me. Of course, as you guys know North Carolina State is recruiting me hard.
"It's getting tough, but I'm dealing with it. I've got my coach and my parents supporting me."
Despite the late interest from programs, Wright has narrowed his list to four teams.
"I'm actually down to four," he said. "I'm down to NC State, Villanova, Wake Forest, and Duke. Duke hasn't offered."
NC State has been the leader for most of the process, and the Wolfpack appear to be in great shape. Wright "loves" NC State's coaching staff, and he is obviously impressed by the job they have done recruiting him.
"I love the coaching staff," he said. "They've been very supportive. They have been there since the beginning and that's important. They have a foundation. It's important that when you go to college you have a good coaching staff."
If St. John's College is going to win the Glaxo tournament, Wright must continue to play like he did in the opener. With a potential game against Christ The King (NY) looming, coach DeStefano raved about his star player.
"He's really a great leader. He does a great job of getting everybody involved. He leads our team, he's a great defender. There aren't many holes in his game.
"The thing that I think makes him such a special player is his ability to make the right decision. He really does a great job of making good decisions with the ball and getting everybody involved.
Wright hinted that a decision may not be too far off, but declined to give a timeframe.
"I'm not sure yet," he said. "Whenever it's the right decision. From what I heard, with these type of things it's usually a gut decision.
"I'm just going to weigh my options. [A decision could come at] any point."