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The Wright stuff: Delon a perfect fit for Utes basketball program

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014 10:25 p.m. MST

Utah Junior Delon Wright poses for a portrait at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Feb. 10.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah guard Delon Wright is an accomplished stat sheet stuffer, an individual success on the basketball floor who can score, rebound, block shots, make steals and dish out assists with precision.

The 21-year-old junior college transfer isn’t a one-man show, however. He’s a dedicated team guy and the byproduct of a lot of support.

“I know I’m not in this alone,” Wright said. “I have family around me and friends that are giving good advice to keep me pushing.”

It’s working. After 27 games with the Utes, the 6-foot-5, 180-pound guard is averaging a team-high 16.3 points per game while making 59.8 percent of his shots. He also tops the squad with 145 assists, 71 steals and 37 blocks. His 6.8 rebounds per game rank second on the team.

“He’s done a really good job fitting in with our plan,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “Statistically, he’s doing a nice job in a lot of different categories, not just for our team but league-wise.”

Krystkowiak added that Wright is a real versatile player who provides the Utes with some size in the backcourt. His wing span gives them more length out on the perimeter.

“He’s a good basketball player,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s interesting ... I don’t know if he does any one thing great. But he does a lot of things really well.”

Wright’s versatility developed off advice from Reggie Morris Jr., his high school coach in Los Angeles.

“My coach made me do like everything. He said, ‘You do everything and it’ll be tough for you to have an off-night,’ ” Wright recalled. “I just try to do a lot of things.”

Instead of focusing on points, Wright said he puts an emphasis on getting assists, steals and other stuff.

“The thing that makes him such a unique player is you can play him regardless if he’s scoring or not. He’s one of the few guys that can go a game without scoring and still be the most valuable player on the floor,” Morris said. “So he has real good timing, real good instincts and he has a knack for the ball. He’s taken pride in doing the things that he needs to do other than scoring. His scoring also comes. He’s just a well-rounded basketball player.”

Morris coached Levzinger High to a California state championship while Wright was named the CIF Southern Section Division 1A Player of the Year.

“He moves at such a calculated pace. He doesn’t look like he’s asserting a ton of energy,” said Morris, who explained that when Wright was younger, coaches would get on him about it until they saw the stat sheet and the numbers he was posting. “So you kind of have to let him play at his pace. He’s watching and observing. He’s just kind of like a camera out there. He’s taking pictures and he’s getting to the ball and he kind of knows where things are going to go before they go.”

A high basketball IQ

Wright’s mother, Stacy, said he’s always been very competitive with a high IQ on the basketball court.

However, there’s much more to her youngest son. She describes him as laid back and excellent — just like his game.

“His IQ, period, is big to me because he’s always been very inquisitive about just everything,” Stacy said.

Wright’s father, Ray, also vouches for his competitiveness and willingness to learn.

“He listens. You can tell him what to do or what he’s not doing and he listens and takes the advice,” Ray said. “When you tell him something, he uses it to his advantage.”

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