He remembers the sun scorching his back while staring at his sneakers, and the sound of a basketball dribbling against the asphalt. He caught the ball, his hand slipping a bit to grasp it in his small hands. He stood at the foul line staring at the frayed rope hanging from the hoop.No missed basket or foul could stop him. Morris Wright, the 5-foot-10 starting point guard at Xavier University of Louisiana, has shown his fans that he is worth every shot.
Wright’s life has not been easy as he had to deal with the loss of loved ones at a young age and struggled paving the way for his dreams. As an eager senior at Zachary High School he was determined to play at the next level and start his college career.“I knew I had to be the toughest player since I wasn’t the biggest or the tallest one,” Wright said. After signing with Baton Rouge Community College in 2012 he helped his team win their first championship in school history. At Xavier, Wright now averages 19 points per game and is ranked 27 at Xavier for having scored a thousand points in his career. “I never put any thought into how many points I score, Wright said. “My only concern is to win a championship at Xavier.”
His motivation came mainly from his teammates, but also from his family. Through all the hard work, dedication and long practices, wright said, he was inspired by his grandma and cousin who both died at the beginning of his college career. “I play to make them proud, that’s why I have their names on the back of my basketball sneakers,” Wright said. That’s a reminder that I always need to go harder.”Wright, who graduates in May 2016, said he plans on using his Bachelor’s degree in Education to teach business to high school students while coaching part-time.
A Leader On and Off the Court
Morris is an all-round athlete who pushes his team to perform at its best. “He keeps everyone’s head on straight,” said senior R.J. Daniels.Wright reminds his teammates that they need to focus not only on what’s going on on the court, but what’s happening off the court, from their social life to their academics, Daniels added. Kevin Murph, a 6-foot-6 freshman from Atlanta, Ga. said, Wright made him feel like he was part of the team from day one.“During practices he would motivate me to reach my fullest potential,” Murph said. Wright looked out for Murph who had a tough time adjusting to being away from home and keeping up with his grades.
“We relate even more off the court because we both grew up not in the best conditions,” Murph said. “He holds everyone accountable where he brings out your strengths and will stay after practice with you,” he said. Even though they will only play together this year, Murph knows that Wright will continue helping athletes after graduation like he has helped him at Xavier. Basketball is a dynamic commitment that becomes part of who you are, Daniels said. It’s not just a sport, but something that can teach them life lessons with every practice and every game. Daniels said, through the game he learned the importance of teamwork and family.
“One person that is like a brother to me is Morris because I‘ve been playing with him for three years,” Daniels said. Daniels described Wright as the middle man that keeps the team together even when they are 20 points down. He knows that it will be their last season playing together, but Daniels is proud of who they have become and the friendship they built. “We are a family together on and off the court. A family that prays together, stays together,” Daniels said.