That void being left behind by the graduation of Derrick White just got a little more manageable for the Colorado men's basketball team.
On Friday, one day after visiting the CU campus, point guard McKinley Wright announced via Twitter his verbal commitment to join head coach Tad Boyle's program.
Boyle confirmed Friday afternoon that CU received Wright's letter of intent.
Wright joins a 2017 freshman class already considered the best of Boyle's seven-season tenure even before the events of the past week and a half, as the Buffs used the postseason departures of Bryce Peters and Thomas Akyazili to add Wright and Serbian guard Lazar Nikolic to the roster.
"This kid is really, really good," Boyle said. "He's kind of the missing piece for us. He's a true point guard. He can shoot the three. He's got the mid-range shot, floaters, he can get to the rim. Beyond his ability to pass and shoot though, I think his true value is in the intangibles. He has leadership skills. He makes plays for others. He has that quarterback mentality, and that's something we need."
Wright was named Mr. Basketball in Minnesota after leading Champlin Park High School to its second Class 4A state runner-up finish in three seasons. A 6-foot point guard, Wright averaged 23.1 points, eight rebounds, and 7.3 assists during his senior season.
Wright perhaps is a touch undersized but he should have an opportunity to play immediately in White's vacated spot at point guard. While the Buffs boast an ample supply of guards in George King (currently testing NBA draft waters but still expected to return), Namon Wright, Deleon Brown, and incoming freshmen D'Shawn Schwartz and Nikolic, none of them are true point guards.
Senior-to-be Dom Collier endured an inconsistent year as the team's point guard two seasons ago and seems better suited to an off-guard role. Boyle said he also can envision Wright playing off the ball in a lineup alongside Collier.
"You look at his rebounding numbers, while he's probably small in stature he has heart," Boyle said. "I think but I'm not sure that he's his school's all-time leading rebounder. He's 185 pounds, so plays physical and is well put together."
Assuming King retreats from those NBA draft waters, the addition of Wright completes what will be a significantly more youthful roster for the Buffs in 2017-18. The incoming freshman class — Wright, Nikolic, Schwartz, Tyler Bey, and Evan Battey — along with redshirt freshman Dallas Walton and 2016-17 freshmen Brown and Lucas Siewert could all be competing for rotation spots when preseason workouts begin.
Wright originally signed with Dayton but was released from that commitment when coach Archie Miller took the head coach job at Indiana. Dayton reportedly remained in the mix for Wright, along with a list of schools that included Minnesota and Butler.
"The foundation is there. Obviously we have to continue to build on it," Boyle said. "You hate to rely on freshmen, but this year we're going to need a few to step up for us. McKinley Wright can be one of those guys. Time will tell how it pans out, but we definitely have a freshman foundation to build on."