Namon Wright was one of the top players in California last season.
June 24, 2014
Incoming freshman Namon Wright signed with Mizzou last November, ranked the No. 60 prospect nationally in the class of 2014 by Scout.com. After the 6-foot-4 guard reaffirmed his decision following the hire of new head coach Kim Anderson, the Los Angeles native became the Tigers' second four-star recruit in the class of 2014 alongside forward Jakeenan Gant.
One of California's top players each of his last two years at Pacific Hills High School, Wright helped lead his school to the Division IV state crown and a 29-4 overall mark as a junior, averaging 15.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. As a senior, Wright earned All-America honors from Ballislife.com and averaged 24.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
A big-game performer for Pacific Hills Head Coach Ivan Barahona (who is also the head coach of the El Salvador National Team), Wright scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the state championship win over Cardinal Newman and dropped in 20 points in the semifinal victory against Bishop Montgomery. He also competed at the Pangos All-America camp the last two seasons, including in 2012, where he played alongside current Tiger, Johnathan Williams, III.
Q: When did you start playing basketball and what was the motivation choosing it over other sports?
NW: "I started playing basketball when I was in fourth or fifth grade. The motivation was just like any other kid playing sports. I wanted to be competitive, watching guys like Allen Iverson."
Q: Who did you look up to or admire as a child?
NW: "Kobe Bryant. I just like his attitude and I like his game. If you watch him play in person, you will have a whole new respect for him. He's like Magic Johnson. He's out there doing what he loves and perfecting his craft."
Q: What about Mizzou drew you here in the first place?
NW: "What drew me here in the first place was Coach (Frank) Haith and Coach (Mark) Phelps. Originally, I had a ton of offers. In my junior summer, I had a terrible summer, playing travel ball. I still had a lot of offers, but not to the point where I was comfortable. I didn't feel comfortable making a decision. Mizzou came in. Coach Haith and Coach Phelps watched me practice and immediately said `we need to get him' and `he's a steal.' Then when I came down here to Mizzou, what I fell in love was the campus, the feel for Mizzou and the fans."
Q: What about Kim Anderson clicked with you and brought you back to Mizzou after the coaching change?
NW: "I thought (Anderson) was a pretty genuine guy. He gave me a little bit of freedom. He told me they were going to handle it and gave me a full release, which I respected. With a lot of coaches, you can actually tell who wants you. You want to be wanted and I really respected him."
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your time as a Tiger?
NW: "I just want to be the best I can, playing for my teammates and playing for my school. Hopefully everything will work out itself. I just have to play hard and work hard and then I'll accomplish goals."
Q: How do you want to make an impact your freshman season?
NW: "Honestly just being aggressive and working hard in the off season."
Q: How do you think your experience playing basketball throughout high school prepared you for the D1 level?
NW: "I had a great coach. He's coaching the El Salvador national team. He really taught me a ton about basketball and that's going to help me play at the D1 level."
Q: How would you describe your skill set and what you bring to the table on the court?
NW: "From playing point guard, shooting guard and small forward, I think I bring a lot of versatility. I bring high energy and I'm a defense-first kind of player. It's just a matter of conditioning and working at it. I'm definitely going to bring defense, energy, and I'll dive for loose balls. I'll do everything I can to win and bring everything I've got every single game."
Q: Is there anyone on the team that's especially helped your transition to Mizzou so far?
NW: "Johnathan Williams taught me that as a freshman, he was doing exactly what I'm doing in the weight room. He taught me that he couldn't score as effectively because he wasn't strong enough and now he's dominating practice. So that's helped me with my confidence looking forward to the future."
Q: What's your plan for the future?
NW: "I want to get at least a 3.0 GPA. I just want to make sure I'm doing well in college. I want to have a great freshman year. I know that time goes quickly and I understand that, so I'll treat this freshman year as if I'm a senior. Achieving goals starts now."
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