McKinley Wright IV discusses his return to CU Buffs basketball

As expected, standout point guard back for senior season

McKinley Wright IV is returning to CU for his senior season.
McKinley Wright IV is returning to CU for his senior season.

McKinley Wright IV admitted the decision wasn’t as easy as it might have appeared on the surface.

Late last week, Colorado’s standout point guard made his return to the Buffaloes for his senior season official, announcing his return to CU after testing his options for the NBA draft. The fact that Wright’s name generally has not appeared on 2020 mock drafts was the least of the factors pulling him back to Boulder.

There was the finish to last season, a five-game losing streak that left outsiders with an impression of the Buffs that Wright didn’t believe was an accurate testament to what, to that point, had been a memorable season. More personally, Wright is on track to become the first person in his family to earn a college degree, an honor more meaningful than his back-to-back first team All-Pac-12 honors.

Still, there was the pandemic. Wright is well aware of the potential hurdles. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March robbed Wright and his teammates of an opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. And he understands it still might make his senior season shorter, and likely more problematic, than planned.

Nevertheless, the lure of that degree and one more opportunity to run with a team that should still have a strong chance to reach the NCAA Tournament offset the uncertainty, and on Wednesday Wright met with media members in a video conference to explain his decision.

“(The pandemic) did cross my mind a lot, especially since my parents, they’re concerned if we’ll have a season,” Wright said. “I talked to coach (Tad) Boyle, I’ve talked to our coaching staff, and we’re confident we’ll have a season. Whether that’s just conference games, or if we play with no fans. Regardless of what it is, we’re confident that we’ll have a season.”

Wright described a pre-draft process that, during this particular summer, was held entirely virtually, with teams arranging interviews through Wright’s NCAA-approved agent. As for the feedback CU’s point guard received, the talking points for making a mark at the next level were the most expected ones — improving his 3-point shooting, as well as his assist-to-turnover ratio.

Wright owns a career 3-point percentage of .337, with a single-season best of .365 as a sophomore. While it only is a matter of time before Wright becomes CU’s all-time assists leader — he ranks second with 501, trailing Jay Humphries’ 562 — his career assist-to-turnover rate stands at just 1.68. He posted his best single-season assist-to-turnover rate as a freshman (1.86).

“I did a lot of interviews and got tons of feedback from the positives, and I asked for the negatives for where to improve my game to play at the next level. And last at the next level,” Wright said. “A lot of teams gave me great feedback of what I do well in transition, stuff off the ball screen that I do well and my competitiveness and my defensive intangibles that I use to my advantage. A lot of stuff like that. Areas to improve are my assist-to-turnover ratio and shooting the 3-ball more consistent. That was my two areas NBA teams told me I had to improve to boost my stock.”