The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Men’s hoops: The “Other Wright” making an impact for Utah


Chris Ayers

For Utah’s Isaiah Wright, his freshman season has been full of ups and downs.

Wright hails from Idaho, where he laid claim to impressive accolades such as Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year, 5A All-Idaho Player of the Year and MVP of the Idaho 5A state tournament. While the competition in the Potato State may not be the cream of the crop, Wright’s imposing prep career led to hefty hype upon his arrival into the Ute program.


But for brief periods of time through his first season as a Ute, Wright has been humbled, becoming somewhat of an afterthought or “the other Wright.”

This was extremely evident when the Runnin’ Utes made their trip to Oregon. When Utah escaped Corvallis with a gritty win over Oregon State, and when the Utes dropped a game to Oregon two days later, Wright remained on the bench, not registering a minute.

After returning to Salt Lake City from the weekend on the road, Wright decided it was up to him to shoot his way back into the rotation. In the morning, Wright woke up early to get some shots up at the gym. After practice, he’d stay late to continue chucking away, and even late at night, he’d still be there.

“I took it to myself,” Wright said. “We got back and I just decided,something’s not right … Ever since that, I’ve been doing well in practice and it’s working.”

His improved play in practice impressed his coach, and Larry Krystkowiak utilized his freshman when the Utes hosted the Arizona schools last weekend. After recording five points, four rebounds and six assists in Utah’s demolishing of ASU, Krystkowiak looked to Wright again two days later against Arizona.

The freshman scored just three points against the Wildcats (all free throws), but logged 21 minutes of play, all while defending some of the best talent the NCAA has to offer.

And Wright did it internally, too. Krystkowiak never sat him down and said, “you have to play better.” In fact, Krystkowiak is on record saying that he wants his players to know what to do all the time and that he doesn’t need to have “heart-to-heart” conversations with them.

So with no push, urge or warning, Wright took it upon himself to be prepared for any game situation, and it’s a good thing he did.

“[Krystkowiak] just started calling my number,” Wright said. “I was ready.”

In addition to just seeing court time in general, Wright was one of the first options off the bench when it came to giving the starting backcourt a rest, namely Delon Wright. It’s no secret that Delon plays a lot of minutes, but the struggle all season has been giving him the rest necessary for him to compete his hardest night in and night out.

So with Isaiah’s improved confidence and play, not only has he won over the graces of Krystkowiak, but his teammates as well, becoming a formidable complement to Delon for the Utes.

Moops 4

“[Isaiah’s] going to be a good player [at Utah],” Delon Wright said of his teammate. “It’s good to see him getting some time and getting adjusted to the college game.”

Whether Isaiah can take over the reins for Delon is yet to be seen, but the freshman has done a solid job of filling in for the Player of the Year candidate. Although he admitted to having bias, Isaiah claims that Delon is “the smartest player I’ve seen in a while in college basketball.”

This year, it’s been Delon’s name put into the spotlight, but after playing with and watching Delon this season, it may not be long before we hear Isaiah’s name on the award watch lists.

“Me playing against [Delon] every day, learning from him, seeing what he does, see what I can take from him that he does very well,” Isaiah Wright said. “It’s just really helping for sure.”

Both Wrights will have to recuperate after a dramatic final home loss against Arizona to travel to Pullman, Wash. where the Runnin’ Utes will take on Washington State before chartering over to Seattle for a Sunday tilt with Washington. Despite coming off of defeat, Krystkowiak and company are feeling confident heading in.

“We have played these teams before and we are familiar with what they do,” Krystkowiak said.

Tip-off between Utah and Washington State is scheduled for 9 p.m. MT.

[email protected]



Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *