Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wright Visits Pittsburgh

Ohio State’s loss could soon be Pittsburgh’s gain.

Former Buckeye commit Cameron Wright visited Pittsburgh’s campus this weekend with his family and high school coach, and is interested in the Panthers.

“It was a good visit,” Benedictine (Oh.) head coach Rob Stircula said. “We met with Coach Dixon, Coach Herrion and most of the coaching staff. We took a campus tour, met with an academic advisor and also met with the athletic director.”

With summer school ending recently, most of the current Pittsburgh players are home for a couple of weeks until classes start.

Still, the 6-5 Wright liked what he saw and plans to make an official visit to Pittsburgh sometime in the fall.

“I enjoyed myself a lot,” Wright said. “I really liked it. The name brings you in, the Big East and everything. But when I got there, it was just unbelievable. Let’s just say they’re definitely up there.

“The people, the coaching staff, they all seemed very real, and that’s what I enjoyed the most.
I’m looking for a good relationship and a staff that’s going to be honest, and that’s the vibe I got.”

Stircula said there’s a lot to like about the Panthers’ program.

“First, he likes the style of play,” Stircula said. “He fits really well in their system. It’s also a big-time program, and third, its proximity to home.” The campus, which impressed Wright, is only about an hour and 40 minutes from his hometown.

Wright has previously taken visits to Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Dayton, Akron, Cleveland State and Indiana, and plans to check out Michigan State later this month. Stircula added that Wright is heading back up to Wisconsin next weekend to meet with Badgers’ head coach Bo Ryan.

Interestingly, Stircula said that he is not sure of which schools will receive an official visit from Wright, but did state that he might only take an official to the school he chooses. Wright added that he “highly doubts” he will make all five official visits.

Stircula said Wright has offers from Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Ohio, Dayton, Akron, Cleveland State, Indiana, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, with interest coming from UCLA and West Virginia.

“I want to go somewhere I’ll be happy,” Wright said. “It’s going to be where I fit in the best.”

“He wants to have a connection with the coaching staff,” Stircula added. “He wants to know that he’s wanted and will be able to play. He doesn’t want to rush into it like [he did with Ohio State].”

Wright originally committed to the Buckeyes in October of 2007. It was always his dream to attend the in-state powerhouse.

“He always wanted to go to Ohio State,” Stircula said. “When he got the offer, he wanted to go there, and for the first year, it was a great fit.”

After that, though, things went downhill.

Wright’s main recruiter at Ohio State was assistant coach John Groce, who left for a head coaching position at Ohio in June of last year. There was speculation beginning last fall regarding Wright’s commitment to the Buckeyes, and he ended all the rumors when he spoke with head coach Thad Matta and decided to open up his recruitment in April.

“I never felt anything bad towards them,” said Wright.

Not surprisingly, his interest and number of offers picked up rapidly since his decision to decommit – especially during an impressive July evaluation period.

“I played well for the most part, pretty good,” Wright said. “I held my own. It was about my mental state; I had to find that extra jolt to keep going on.”

His versatility and ability to do multiple things is attractive to college coaches.

“I’m a team player,” said Wright, who envisions himself as a combo guard. “I was brought up to be pass-first, but can score when needed to. I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

While Wright said he does not have a top five currently, Stircula provided some clues as to which schools are at the forefront of Wright’s list.

“If I had to list his favorites, in no particular order, I would say Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, Cleveland State, Notre Dame, then Michigan State or Georgia Tech,” Stircula said. “Indiana would be grouped in there, too.”

Stircula added that Wright has basically ruled out the mid-major schools besides Cleveland State, evidently meaning that Wright’s relationship with Groce won’t be a factor in his decision.

Although his list seems long, we won’t have to wait very long for Wright to commit to a school.

“I would say the latest is mid-September,” said Stircula.

Wright was coy about a timetable for his decision.

“You never know,” Wright said. “Tomorrow I’m going to go to church, sit down with my family and then see what the day brings.”

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