BERKELEY, Calif. — Namon Wright has played his final game for the Colorado basketball team.
Following Thursday’s 68-59 win at Cal, CU head coach Tad Boyle announced that Wright, the Buffaloes’ only senior, soon will undergo surgery to repair his ailing foot.
“Namon has elected to have surgery on his foot and we won’t have him the rest of the year,” Boyle said. “He’s got an injury that’s pretty common in athletes. It’s been giving him pain, so they feel like they can go in and clean things up and alleviate that pain. So that’s what he’s elected to do.
“It’s all his decision. Those are decisions players have to make. They get consultation from the trainer. They get the doctors’ opinion. The doctors cleared him to play, but he felt discomfort and he felt pain, and you have to respect that certainly. So that’s where we’re at.”
A transfer from Missouri, Wright joined the CU rotation last year and averaged 9.7 points in 30 games. Counted on to provide leadership this season as the only senior on a youthful team, Wright burst out of the gate with a CU career-best 25 points in the season-opener against Drake, and he averaged 13.3 points through the season’s first four games while going 9-for-18 on 3-pointers.
However, in the next nine games before the foot pain sent him to the sideline, Wright’s production dropped significantly. In those nine contests he averaged just five points while going 4-for-16 on 3-pointers. Wright played 20 minutes in the Pac-12 Conference opener at Arizona, but he missed the next three games. He returned to play just five minutes in Sunday’s loss at Utah, and he did not make this week’s trip to Cal and Stanford.
His season ends with a scoring average of 7.0 and a field goal percentage of .453.
McKinley Wright’s return
It was a slow but meaningful comeback for McKinley Wright.
The Buffs’ point guard returned to the starting lineup against Cal after a one-game absence due to a left shoulder injury, and after a quiet first half McKinley Wright played a key role in CU’s ability to hold off the Golden Bears down the stretch.
“It’s a little sore right now, but it’s feeling a lot better than it was at Utah,” Wright said. “I’m going to keep playing through it. It’s not a lot of pain and it’s going to be OK.”
Wright went without any points or assists in the first half, but he posted eight points and four assists after halftime. The second of his two second-half 3-pointers gave the Buffs a seven-point lead with 36 seconds remaining.
“McKinley Wright, obviously having him back in uniform is special,” Boyle said. “He hits that big three. Our guys feed off of McKinley’s presence. But in the first half McKinley has zero points and zero assists, and we have 12 assists and three turnovers as a team. Our guys need to learn we don’t need to be as dependent as maybe we are on McKinley.”
The Buffs shot an even 50 percent (25-for-50), reaching that mark for the fourth time this season…Tyler Bey posted his sixth double-double of the season (17 points, 14 rebounds), and it also was his 10th double-digit rebounding effort of the season…CU is trying to rectify its turnover issues but can’t seem to put it together for an entire game. In Sunday’s loss at Utah, the Buffs committed all 11 of their turnovers in the first half. At Cal they had just three at halftime but recorded 10 in the second half…After averaging 13.6 points through the first five Pac-12 games, CU’s D’Shawn Schwartz scored just two points against Cal. Foul trouble helped limit Schwartz to about 18 minutes, his lowest total since playing 16 minutes against Colorado State on Dec. 1.
Pat Rooney: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/prooney07