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McKinley Wright IV lands on preseason watch list for Cousy Award for second straight year

CU Buffs guard imploring younger teammates to vote

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:
BOULDER, CO Oct. 21, 2020: ...
Photo courtesy of CU athletics
BOULDER, CO – October 21, 2020: Colorado’s McKinley Wright during men’s basketball practice. (Courtesy photo/University of Colorado)

McKinley Wright IV admits he has harbored one regret lately. And it has nothing to do with missing out on the Bob Cousy Award last year.

Wright will get another shot at that honor this year, as on Monday he was named to the preseason watch list for the Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard, for the second consecutive season. Yet with Election Day at hand on Tuesday, Wright admitted other matters have been on his mind.

Wright has become more vocal on social justice matters over the past year, and with Election Day now a mandated day off by the NCAA, those efforts are coming full circle. Wright grew up not far from where George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis in late May. CU’s point guard was among the leader of the Buffs March held in Boulder less than two weeks later, and these days his leadership role amongst the Buffaloes also includes him imploring his younger teammates to not make the same mistake he made four years ago.

“It’s huge for us. Especially being an African American here on campus at CU Boulder. It’s time for change and we want to see change,” Wright said. “The last election four years ago, I didn’t vote. I regret it. I understand how much my vote counts now. And for our young guys who are 18 and are eligible to vote, I don’t want them to make the same mistake I made by not voting, and not taking things serious, knowing there could have been change four years ago. It’s been vocal. Coach Boyle and our staff, they’ve been doing a great job of making sure that we’re registered to vote. I think everyone on the team has voted.”

The Cousy Award was won by former Oregon guard Payton Pritchard last spring, and Wright is one of 20 players named to the preseason list this year. Arizona State senior Remy Martin is the only other Pac-12 player on the preseason watch list.

Wright was one of the 10 midseason finalists for the award last year and eventually finished the season averaging 14.4 points and 5.0 assists per game. He became just the second CU player after Donnie Boyce to collect at least 1,000 points, 400 rebounds, and 400 assists in his career, and with 501 career assists he is on pace to top Jay Humphries’ program record of 562.

On Monday, the Buffs also learned their scheduled opponent for the season opener on Nov. 25, South Dakota State, has pulled out of a multi-team event at Kansas State. Regardless of what team eventually fills that opening void in the schedule, Wright believes the Buffs are getting closer to being ready when the lights finally go on.

“We’re not all the way there yet,” Wright said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys. Right now we’re getting up and down a lot, and right now we’ve got the freshmen brains all over the place with the sets we have, where we get to in transition, our defensive principles and all kinds of stuff like that. Right now, we’re not where we want to be. But we’re getting there and our freshmen are picking up.”