Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wolfpack misses more than Wright's skills

Just a little over two years ago, Chris Wright’s commitment was seen as evidence that Herb Sendek was ready to take N.C. State’s program to a higher level.

Sendek coached the Wolfpack to five straight NCAA tournaments. Wright was the McDonald’s All-America point guard whose ability to create shots for himself and others was supposed to add sizzle to Sendek’s monotonous motion offense.

After Sendek left for Arizona State, Wright decided not to play for new coach Sidney Lowe in Raleigh. He enrolled at Georgetown instead and will play against Maryland-Baltimore County on Friday in a first-round NCAA tournament game in Raleigh.

In many ways, this season was a disappointment for Lowe and Wright. N.C. State lost its final nine games and was the No. 12 seed for the ACC tournament.

Wright missed 18 games with a left foot injury. For that matter, Sendek might be the most frustrated person of all after Arizona State defeated Arizona twice but saw its rival make the NCAA tournament field when the Sun Devils didn’t.

But Wright doesn’t sound discouraged. He said he learned a lot this season from Georgetown’s veteran guards, including senior Jonathan Wallace, whom Wright is in line to replace as a starter next season.

“I think I have a good future,” Wright said. “Once I continue to learn more about the offense and aspects of the game, period, I’ll be able to contribute more at a high level. I’m trying to learn from the veterans. I have some great veterans in front of me.”

That’s the type of attitude N.C. State was desperately missing this season. After the Wolfpack struggled at point guard all season, it’s impossible not to think of what impact Wright could have made as he gets ready to take the floor at the RBC Center.

– Ken Tysiac