2011 Ivy League Player of the Year and 2012 second-team All-Ivy forward Keith Wright ’12 has spent the last few months preparing for the NBA Draft, which begins tomorrow, June 28.
Wright will most likely go undrafted, but has a chance of being picked in the late second round. At 6’8”, Wright is undersized at the 4, but lacks the midrange game and athleticism of a 3. Working in his favor are an array of post-moves and a nose for the ball on the offensive glass.
After a stellar junior season in which Wright led Harvard to its first Ivy League co-championship with 15.4 points per game, 8.9 rebounds per game and 2.1 blocks per game, expectations were high coming into his senior year.
Though the team achieved more success, the offense became much more balanced, with junior Kyle Casey taking more of a lead role on the scoring end, and Wright becoming a secondary option.
Wright continued to perform at a high level—he registered 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and an impressive 58.6 field goal percentage—but poor performances against bigger, more athletic big men in UConn’s Andre Drummond and Vanderbilt’s Festus Ezeli exposed some potential weaknesses on the next level.
In two matchups with the premier big-men, Wright averaged 8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and just 33 percent shooting from the field while giving up a field goal percentage of 80, both in losing efforts. Both Drummond and Ezeli, 7’0” and 6’11”, respectively, are projected to go in the first round, with Drummond expected to be a top-10 pick.
Despite Harvard’s recent success on the national level, reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1946, there still remains the question of the Crimson’s pedigree as a basketball program. Jeremy Lin ’10 did a lot to quell any doubts, and Wright’s reputation as an undersized and under-athletic Harvard graduate sound a lot like the same criticisms lobbed Lin’s way leading up to the draft two years ago.
Lin ended up going undrafted and the team that eventually signed him, the Warriors, may be looking to make good on a blunder of its own. After signing, Lin spent his rookie season with Golden State, seeing limited action outside of the D-League before being released. After a brief stop with the Houston Rockets, Lin ended up on the New York Knicks—and we all know what happened next.
Before Lin’s contract situation was resolved with the Knicks, there was talk of the Warriors trying to get back in on the Linsanity. Perhaps they, or some other team, will try and make amends with the Harvard faithful by making Wright just the second Crimson player in the NBA in the last 50 years.