Chris Wright hadn’t really been in touch with former University of Dayton basketball teammate Brian Roberts since their one season together in 2007-08. But the two crossed paths at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas last July and renewed their bond with Roberts taking a mentorship role again.
“That’s my big brother. I love B-Rob to death,” said Wright, who was a freshman and Roberts a senior on an NIT quarterfinal team.
“I told him my plans and what I was doing, and he told me his. We were talking about old times, and he was telling me about sticking with it. He told me about his decisions and why he did it. It was kind of like that big brotherly feel like when I was at Dayton, when he would show me and teach me different things.”
Although the two have taken varying paths in pro basketball, both have the same goal of landing on NBA teams this season.
Roberts, who elevated his game during a productive four-year career overseas, is all but assured of a roster spot with the New Orleans Hornets. Wright, who made the Golden State Warriors last season in his first year out of college, has received an invitation to the Toronto Raptors’ training camp, which starts Oct. 1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“They’re very, very up front and honest with me, letting me know this is not guaranteed. Nothing is promised to nobody,” Wright said. “They said, ‘Don’t change who you are on the court, just try to improve.’ And I have gotten better.”
Wright became the first UD player to suit up for an NBA team since 1999 when he landed with the Warriors as an undrafted free agent. He averaged 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 24 games, including a 25-point, seven-dunk outburst in the season finale when the club started an all-rookie lineup.
He could have returned for another tryout with the Warriors, but he realized he didn’t figure into their long-term plans when he barely played in their summer-league opener. He hopped to the Raptors and averaged 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in the final four games of the session, doing enough to impress coach Dwane Casey.
“Coach Casey came in and said he loved how hard I played and said, ‘You’ve got game,’ ” Wright said.
The 6-foot-8 forward is looking at his tryout as just another step in his journey as a pro basketball player.
“It’s a process, and you’ve got to always understand it may not be how you want it right now, but if you keep pushing and chopping away at what you’re doing, eventually it happens for you,” he said.
“Of course, when you’re not drafted, it’s expected for you not to be there long. But with the opportunities I have now, I just have to seize it. The NBA is more than what people see as being money. They actually really take care of you as people. It’s like a brotherhood. It’s like a fraternity, the best fraternity in the world. It’s something you really don’t want to end.”
Volleyball: The Flyers, ranked 20th in the AVCA Top 25 (their 50th straight week receiving votes in the national poll), will play two rated teams in the Tulsa Invitational this weekend. They face No. 10 Minnesota and Tulsa (also receiving votes) on Friday and No. 19 Kansas State on Saturday.
Soccer: Freshman goalkeeper Chris Froschauer was picked as the Atlantic 10’s rookie of the week after notching eight saves in UD’s 4-1 win over Eastern Illinois.
Nicole Waters was honored as the A-10 women’s rookie of the week after tallying her second goal of the season and first assist, leading UD to a 2-0 weekend against Harvard and Northeastern.