By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word
- A funny thing happened to Moses Wright back in February, Georgia Tech basketball assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie called him and suggested that he consider visiting campus to better gauge the Yellow Jackets and so that the Jackets might better appraise him.
Tech was late to the recruiting party, but Wright was late to the game so maybe that fit. He didn’t start playing basketball until he tried out for his high school team as a freshman, “just joking around,” he said, and made the junior varsity cut.
He’s come a long way and grown a great bit since, and it won’t rate as a surprise if the 6-foot-9, 210-pound swing man finds his way onto the floor for Tech as a freshman.
Who would have thought this was coming?
Wright grew up in Raleigh, N.C., swimming and playing tennis, and he was good enough that his mother, Calla Wright, felt that he had a shot at earning a college scholarship in one of those sports.
“My dad [the late Gerald Wright] used to play tennis, and my mom wanted me to do something other than basketball and football,” Wright said of his path. “I didn’t play basketball, other than a little pickup, but it wasn’t serious.
“My older brother [Robert] and his friends would play, and I would just tag along with him. Then, I tried out in high school, just joking around, and I ended up making the team.”
After two seasons on the JV at William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, where he stopped swimming and playing tennis as a sophomore, Wright was home-schooled as a junior, playing for a home school team.
He’d begun making a mark in the sport, however, on the AAU circuit, thanks in part to his mother.
She wasn’t necessarily keen on the idea of her son playing basketball at first, but she retired early from her job as a teacher and worked with her second son.
The scout in Calla Wright saw promise, as her rapidly growing son ran the court like a thoroughbred, flicked a comfortable jump shot out to 18 feet or so and there was that length – Moses now has a wingspan of 7-2.
“He was my primary focus, and I couldn’t let him be a statistic,” Calla told the Raleigh News & Observer. “I said, ‘Moses, this is such a competitive sport that if we choose this, I believe in doing this to the best because there are so many basketball players.”
So, Calla connected her son with a noted AAU basketball program at Garner Road, and Moses continued to grow his game and his name.
“My mom got me in the Garner Road AAU program, and I really got serious about basketball,” Wright recalled. “My junior year is when I started getting serious.”
Wright was making an impression on the summer circuits, and several Division II schools like Catawba and Pembroke were recruiting him as he re-enrolled at Enloe for his senior season.
UNC Charlotte and Kansas State were showing interest, too, and then while he was on his way to averaging 21.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game as a senior, a certain coach from Atlanta dialed him up.
“I got a call before the first round of the conference tournament. It was coach LaBarrie,” Wright said. “I would describe my game, compared to someone on the team, more like Ben Lammers, and I run the floor a lot; that’s one of the reasons I’m here.”
While he may have some similar skills, Wright is not going to be asked to do all of the same things. Where Lammers will often play deep in the paint, Wright’s more often going to be on the move, and the notion of that is part of what attracted him to Tech.
He signed a letter of intent with the Institute in April, and will study business administration.
“I like the offense, one through four [point guard through power forward] isn’t really a set position,” Wright said. “It’s like the [power forward] isn’t a back-to-the-basket [player]; it’s more like a face-up and he can be on the wing, too. Back to the basket, that’s not what I’m good at.”