Wright courts right stuff

It's believed Toronto's D.J. Wright is the first native Canadian to land a high-major NCAA...

It's believed Toronto's D.J. Wright is the first native Canadian to land a high-major NCAA basketball scholarship. (File Photo)

JASON PAUL -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Toronto's D.J. Wright takes pride in his native heritage, even if it means bowing out of one of the biggest basketball recruiting camps in North America.

Wright, who recently made a verbal commitment to an NCAA scholarship at Louisiana State University, was one of only three Canadians invited to the prestigious ABCD Camp in Teaneck, N.J., July 4-9.

Despite the opportunity to maximize his exposure, Wright, who is half-Ojibwe/half-Jamaican, instead elected to represent Ontario at the North American Indigenous Games in Denver on July 2-8.

"I had committed to going quite a while back," said Wright, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound wing player. "It was a big-time honour to be invited to ABCD because not many Canadians get a chance to go."

Wright, 19, scored about 80% of the team's points, leading the under-20 squad to a sixth-place finish.

A couple weeks later, Wright made up for that missed opportunity with a great showing at the Big-Time Tournament in Las Vegas, July 22-26, where he shot 83% from the field for Grass Roots Canada.

Louisville, which was one of about 200 colleges represented, offered him a scholarship for the 2007-08 season after having monitored him for almost a year. Wright had been so enthusiastic at the prospects of playing for LSU, which reached the Final Four this past season, he bought a cellphone with the final four digits of LSU1.

It's believed Wright is the first native Canadian to land a high-major NCAA basketball scholarship.

"(His heritage) is something that's important to me and I'll have to (represent) that, for sure," Wright said.

Wright grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, but decided last summer to move to Toronto to face stiffer competition. He enrolled at Father Henry Carr Catholic, but was deemed ineligible to play because of strict transfer rules.

He then hooked up with Toronto Academy Prep School, run by his uncle Ro Russell, and averaged about 19 points and eight rebounds over a 45-game schedule.

"He's one of the best shooters in the country and coaches like the intangibles he brings to the table," Russell said. "Hopefully, he's paving the way for more native people to reach this level. He'll be able to carry that weight on his shoulders."

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TORONTO COMMITMENTS

Theo Davis (ex-Henry Carr), a 6-foot-10 centre who attended Lutheran Prep (Pa.) last season, has committed to Gonzaga ... Sam Ashaolu (ex-York Memorial), a 6-foot-7 forward who played at Lake Region State College (N.D.) is off to Duquesne.


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