McKinley Wright IV just wanted a team, any team, to give him a chance.
It turned out a familiar franchise was willing to grant Wright, a Minnesota native, that wish.
Although CU’s all-time assists leader didn’t hear his name during the 60-player NBA draft on Thursday night, ESPN reported soon afterward that Wright has agreed to a two-way contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Wright generally wasn’t listed on NBA mock drafts after he completed his stellar CU career with a loss against Florida State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Yet his effort at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, in addition to a number of team workouts, nudged Wright closer to the cutoff line of the draft.
Wright was hoping to become the 36th NBA draft pick in CU Buffs history, and he would have been the seventh under head coach Tad Boyle. That list includes Alec Burks (12th overall, 2011), Andre Roberson (26th, 2013), Spencer Dinwiddie (38th 2014), Derrick White (29th 2017), George King (59th 2018), Tyler Bey (36th 2020).
Wright left an indelible impression in the CU record book beyond his career assists mark (683), finishing his career ranked sixth all-time in scoring (1,857), sixth in made field goals (668), and first in double-digit scoring games (109). Wright also ranks 10th in made 3-pointers (133), ninth in made free throws (388), tied for ninth in free throw percentage (.803), tied for 10th in steals (140), and tied for 20th in rebounds (644).
Wright’s 130 starts are tied for second all-time, and his 131 games played are tied for fifth. He also played the second-most minutes in program history (4,339), trailing all-time leader Cory Higgins (4,478). No other CU player collected more double-digit assist games than the 10 recorded by Wright.
Wright owns four of top nine single-season assist totals in team history, and until he arrived in Boulder no CU player besides Donnie Boyce had recorded at least 1,000 points, 400 assists, and 400 rebounds. Wright, whose 644 career rebounds was the exact total recorded by Boyce, finished his career as the only Pac-12 men’s basketball player to compile at least 1,800 points, 600 rebounds, and 600 assists.
Wright is just one of three CU players to earn three first team all-conference honors.
Overall, the Pac-12 Conference enjoyed four first-round picks, led by USC’s Evan Mobley going to Cleveland at No. 3. Stanford’s Ziaire Williams was the 10th overall pick by New Orleans but was traded to Memphis. Oregon’s Chris Duarte was picked 13th by Indiana, while Arizona State freshman Josh Christopher went to Houston at No. 24.
However, after getting shut out in the second round, the Pac-12’s total of four draft picks was the league’s fewest since having just three in 2012.