The Wright Stuff

If the saying that a player makes his biggest gains between year one and year two are true, Texas basketball strength and conditioning coach is in for a treat.

Wright is working with five soon-to-be sophomores in Myck Kabongo, Julien Lewis, Sheldon McClellan, Jaylen Bond and Jonathan Holmes. The craziest part? They're now the eldest scholarship players on the team. But that doesn't faze the Longhorns' strength guru.

"When the kids come in here, it's a process," Wright said. "They have to go through certain things. I'm excited about our young group that we've actually had go through this year because we've already made incredible gains in the first four weeks [after] the season's ended. It's just one of those things. As the work continues to grow we do a good job of consistently doing it everyday, that you get better.

So our crew right now has done a good job in the spring, and we're excited to start the process with those freshmen coming in," Wright said.

There should also be another process: that of trying to build leaders out of a group that mostly had to follow a year ago. But Wright said it was impossible to pick out a leader this early on.

"There's so many young guys in there that to answer that question I'd probably want to be able to go through the summer to be able to evaluate who's going to end up getting there," Wright said. "But this group that we have right now has done an incredible job. Each one of them has made some great gains. I'll be curious to see when we get the freshmen in, where the leadership picks up."

The players didn't have much of a break after the 2011-2012 season ended. Wright said the players received about a week off before they began lifting three days a week, to start developing a strong base. Wright, in conjunction with the Texas basketball staff, believes in working realistic basketball movements. So four times a week, the Longhorns are working on strengthening their athletic stances on both ends of the four. Two days a week, it's first-step training for offense. And two days it's defensive footwork and lateral movement.

"That's so important: how they get into their stance," Wright said. "How do they get off going forward offensively, and how do they move laterally and dropping back defensively?

"Our philosophy in developing a basketball player is, if you're a great basketball player and you want to learn how to shoot better, you shoot," Wright said. "Well, we look at the movements that they perform off of, and we [practice] those movements. So we think we give them a better advantage to perform their skills off of those movements."

With the large gain that players make between their first two seasons, is there one position that sees a bigger jump?

"It's all very individualistic on the kid," Wright said. "But our coaching staff does a great job of recruiting great kids that have a great gift that God gave them. So I'm lucky that I get to develop those kids. It usually happens right before your eyes, which is fun to watch."

Fun was a word Wright used often when talking about the sophomores, and he said their ability to flip the switch and work hard made his job easier.

"I think this group's going to be hungry," Wright said. "I'm excited about the future with the group of kids that we have. I have a great feeling about the next three or four years of Texas basketball."


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