St. John’s, always on the hunt for talent, has brought in a former top-100 guard in the class of 2016 for a visit, Mississippi State transfer Eli Wright.
Mississippi State transfer Eli Wright is currently on an official visit to St. John's, per a source. Talented scorer. Sit one, play two. #SJUBB— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 19, 2018
Eli Wright is a 6’4”, 203 pound guard from Owensboro, KY (the same town as Johnny Depp, Darrell Waltrip, Rex Chapman & Real World: LA cast member Jon Brennan). A sophomore this season, he would need to sit out next season and would have two years of eligibility remaining.
Wright averaged three points and two rebounds per game as a sophomore, similar to what he averaged as a freshman, a season that inspired him to look for a transfer before returning to play for Ben Howland a second season in Starkville.
Last season, he played as a low-usage guard whose sophomore year was a step back from his freshman year — where, despite the same limited time, he hit 41% of his threes, 61% of his twos and 71% of his free throws.
Much of that downturn comes from a stretch in November into December that included two DNPs and a stretch on the court where he shot 0/9 inside the arc and 0/7 outside over four games. Small sample size caveats apply; in limited minutes he was competent in conference play.
Eli was considered a good defender, but struggled to crack the lineup ahead of guards Quinndary Weatherspoon and Nick Weatherspoon, along with the ball dominant, slick-dribbling Lamar Peters. Guard Tyson Carter and incoming four-star slashing wing Robert Woodard add to the logjam for Wright.
Despite being the fourth or fifth option on the court, he played last year as a spark on both ends, a slasher who was once a top-100 recruit (ranked 65th by ESPN, 80th by 247 Sports and 92 by Rivals).
In high school, he played for Owensboro’s Apollo High, and then went to IMG Academy. Dissatisfied with his experience at IMG, he joined current St. John’s forward Sedee Keita at 22-Ft Academy for his senior season. (22 Ft Academy ended up in the news recently for the wrong reasons.)
That connection is what brought Wright to consider St. John’s. There is a feeling that he might have a higher ceiling than his first two seasons indicated, given minutes. His athleticism and attacking nature could make him a slashing guard with defensive upside.
If Wright joined the Johnnies, he would join transfer David Caraher next season to add some scoring punch after Marvin Clark (and possibly Shamorie Ponds) leave.
The Red Storm may still be in the hunt for JUCO wing LJ Figueroa, and should still have interest in Dachon Burke, no matter what Eli Wright’s decision.
Some high school highlights
At 22 Ft Academy
From Apollo HS
In this video, his potential is a bit more evident.