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The future of Colorado basketball is in McKinley Wright’s hands

The Buffs have something special in the freshman point guard.

NCAA Basketball: Colorado at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Buffaloes have themselves a star point guard who is going to be here for a long time. McKinley Wright IV has been absolutely sensational this season and all evidence shows that he’s going to continue to carry the Buffs on his back.

Every conversation about Wright should start with his recruitment. He shouldn’t even be in Boulder, but the Buffs had roster tumult that required them to go digging for a point guard. Bryce Peters was a highly recruited combo guard, but he had off-the-court issues that resulted in him transferring; point guard Thomas Akyazili, meanwhile, regressed badly as a sophomore and went back to Belgium. Those two guards leaving meant the Buffs had two additional scholarships and a critical lack of depth at guard.

Enter McKinley Wright, the former Dayton commit who the Buffs were on immediately after Archie Miller left Dayton for Indiana. Wright wasn’t even the best player on his Minnesota high school team, but the Buffs saw in him a mentally strong floor general who would compete for a starting job on day one. No one knew just how much of an impact he would have right away.

You could look at McKinley Wright and the limitations that made him go under the radar. He’s barely 6’0 tall, lacks the jaw-dropping athleticism that so many undersized guards rely on, and his jumper is still inconsistent. But that doesn’t even remotely explain why he’s so incredible.

Wright may not have a 44-inch vertical like Derrick White, but he’s quick as hell and knows how to use his burst to cut through the defense. He doesn’t have the height of Spencer Dinwiddie to see over the defense, but his vision is remarkable for a teenager. He isn’t shooting threes at an elite level, but 38% is good enough for him to draw attention and attack hard close outs. He doesn’t have any go-to move, but he just knows how to get to the rim and finish in traffic. He isn’t as long as most lockdown perimeter defenders, but his hustle and defensive IQ make him a terror on defense.

It’s even more impressive when you look at his intangibles. His work ethic is ridiculous and apparently inspires his teammates to keep up with him. His heart and hustle will be legendary in due time as he refuses to accept defeat. His consistent clutch play is somewhere between Askia Booker and Derrick White. It’s no surprise then that Wright has grown into the leader of his young team only a few games into his freshman year.

Now it’s time for some stats, because those are fun. Wright is averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 50% from the field and 38% from three. That’s good enough for a superb 23.4 PER. Only four others players in major college basketball are averaging 15+ points, 5+ rebounds and 4+ assists with a better PER: Legerald Vick (Kansas), Jevon Carter (West Virginia), Tra Holder (Arizona State) and Tony Carr (Penn State). Wright is keeping company with guards many consider among the very best in the nation and only Carr is even an underclassmen.

Colorado has something special in McKinley Wright and he’s going to be the engine of the Buffs for years to come. Just imagine how good he’s going to be with more than 11 games of experience.