Summer Sessions: Namon Wright
As we do each summer, PowerMizzou.com is in the process of talking to every Missouri scholarship basketball player that is on campus. Over the next couple of weeks, we will post a Q&A with every member of the team. We start with one of the newest Tigers, freshman guard Namon Wright.
Namon Wright: "Playing point guard is hard."
PowerMizzou: You're playing point guard?
NW: "Yeah, a little bit. Till Keith (Shamburger) gets here."
PM: Did you do that much in high school?
NW: "Yeah, a little bit. It's different, though, in college."
PM: Take me through your spring. Coach Haith leaves and what are those next few weeks like?
NW: "It was about a month or so, maybe a month and a half until high school was going to be over. I didn't really have much time. I was pretty much like, not sad or anything like that, but I was frantic and like shocked and the whole nine yards. When they hired Anderson, I was relieved, one because they got a coach. Two, I followed how fans reacted to the new coach so I think the feedback was positive so that was good. Then they came and visited their recruits, me and Jakeenan (Gant). When they came to my house, I really got a good vibe from them."
PM: Did you know who coach Anderson was when they hired him? Did you know much about him?
NW: "I'd heard about him, but I didn't really know much about him. I heard that he was with Norm Stewart, but I didn't really know much about him."
PM: What was he able to do that sold you on sticking with Missouri?
NW: "I don't know if he remembers, but he told me that sometimes you've just got to take a leap of faith and trust me. I just felt that he was a genuine person. He wasn't 'Come here, come here, come here,' even though because he's a new coach, some players are going to leave and you don't know how the roster's gonna be. He could have been like that. He could have sold me, but he was just being honest, opening up for me, telling me he was going to work with me and all that."
PM: What's the biggest difference between being a high school basketball player and being a Division One basketball player?
NW: "It's just like more of a business. Also, I know that there's more of an appreciation for the sport, which is good, but it's mostly a business. It's so much harder. You have to be here, you can't miss practice, you can't miss workouts. You have two workouts, weights and a workout, whether it's a team workout or a scrimmage or whatever. You have them every day and they're hard. That's pretty much the difference."
PM: If you had a game tomorrow, where is your game ready to be a college player and where does it need work?
NW: "Where I feel I'll be ready is confidence in my shooting, my slashing, my ball movement, my verbal communication with my teammates on defense and offense. Defense also, I'm not saying I'll be ready, but I definitely could hold my own. Where I need to work on is strength. My biggest strength in high school was driving to the hole, driving on guys, getting to the bucket. And that's my biggest weakness so far in practice because everybody's bigger than me. My shooting is one of the biggest parts of my game right now."
PM: With DeAngelo (Allen) and Jakeenan (Gant), have you guys already kind of formed a bond even though it's just been a few weeks?
NW: "Yeah. We're the only three freshmen, so we have to have a bond. We pretty much do the orientations, the freshman this, the freshman that together. We're always together. We live together, we're around each other in the same dorm."
PM: Of the returning guys, who's shown you the ropes and taken you in?
NW: "I wouldn't say anyone's necessarily taken me under their wing because I don't have anyone at my position, but everyone's been pretty cool. J3, he's really just told me about how his freshman year went and getting me on a comfort level mentally on how he was as a freshman and how I should come in as a freshman and how I should improve coming in to my sophomore year."
PM: After the whole process, you've been here two or three weeks, a couple thousand miles from home. Right decision? Are you happy?
NW: "I'm very happy. It's honestly, regardless of whether I was here or somewhere else, it's just a blessing, it's an honor to be playing college basketball. Some people, they get hurt in high school, they don't get a chance to play the game they love. I feel blessed to get to practice every time I get taped up, I think about that. I'm really here, I'm actually here. When I was in high school, even though I knew I wanted to play Division One and, you know, always played basketball, I couldn't always see myself here. Now I've finally settled in to my mental state that yes, I'm here. I'm starting to do everything I can to be the best player."
PM: Last thing, for Missouri fans who haven't seen anything but a highlight tape of you, what's your game like? Who do you pattern your game after?
NW: "These are two completely different players so it's kind of weird to say, but the only people that I get compared to are Nick Young from the Los Angeles Lakers or Dwyane Wade from the Heat. Those are the two comparisons I get a lot."
PowerMizzou.com will continue Summer Sessions over the next two weeks.
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