For Sharone Wright Jr., the decision to transfer from Wake Forest University to Morgan State University will help him feel more at home while giving him a chance to chase his dreams.
Wright, a 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard, started 21 games during his freshman season at Wake Forest and averaged 7.1 points per game. He played in 20 games during 2019-2020 season, all off the bench, and averaged 2.2 points.
He will have two seasons of eligibility remaining at Morgan State, though it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play right away. The Bears made strides under new head coach Kevin Broadus in 2019-20.
“I’m confident in myself. I’m confident that we’re going to win the conference,” Wright said on Glenn Clark Radio July 9. “We’re going to go to the [NCAA] Tournament, and we’re going to just go from there. That’s my goal. I didn’t do this just to do it. I want to chase my dreams.”
Wright, 20, thinks that he can be successful anywhere, even at colleges that aren’t big basketball schools. He looks at his decision to transfer to Morgan State as a chance to prove that players who work hard don’t have to go to a school like Duke to be drafted.
Wright said he wants to follow the path of Ja Morant, who led Murray State of the Ohio Valley Conference to the second round of 2019 NCAA Tournament as a sophomore before being picked No. 2 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2019 NBA Draft.
“I look at him as an example. He went to Murray State. He chose to go to Murray State,” Wright said. “He didn’t want to go to Duke, which he could have because he had the talent to. He could have gone anywhere he wanted. … I want to do that. I want to have a chance to compete against these teams that they think we can’t play against.”
Wright, a native of Florence, S.C., committed to Wake Forest as a four-star talent out of high school. After spending two seasons with the Demon Deacons, he talked with his parents about his options, and he looked to his father for advice.
Wright Sr. played basketball at Clemson from 1991-1994 and was picked No. 6 overall in the 1994 NBA Draft. He played in the NBA for four years and overseas for another six.
“When I decided to go to Morgan and further my college career there, I thought about it, and I sat down and talked to my parents, mainly my dad,” Wright Jr. said. “And he just thought it was the best for me because he’s always been a big part of my recruitment, even in high school he was a big part of it. He knows everybody.”
The move from playing for Wake Forest in the highly competitive ACC to Morgan State, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, is not lost on Wright. He said that he knows how the schools and conferences compare on paper, but he doesn’t see it as a step down.
He knows the norm for four- and five-star recruits is to attend major basketball schools, but he thinks he and others can succeed at schools like Morgan State. He thinks the Baltimore school is a better fit for him.
“As a top prospect, you can change the narrative of how everybody looks at this,” Wright said. “The typical [route] for a top recruit [is], ‘I want to go to Duke,’ or ‘I want to go to Wake Forest,’ whatever that is, but people don’t really think about it like you can help your people. I’m African American so just me being at an HBCU just makes me feel more at home.”
In June, five-star prospect Mikey Williams announced on Twitter that he would seriously consider HBCUs when deciding where to play college basketball. Williams, 16, is ranked No. 3 nationally for the class of 2023 by ESPN.
On July 3, Makur Maker, a five-star recruit from Phoenix, announced on Twitter his commitment to Howard University. Maker said that he hopes his decision to play for Howard will encourage other players, including Williams to consider doing the same.
Wright said he didn’t even know about Maker’s remarks when he announced his decision July 3 to transfer to Morgan State. He said that he made his decision for himself and only later realized how much people were talking about how HBCUs could benefit from having an influx of talent from top-tier players.
“It was hundreds and thousands of people telling me good luck,” Wright said. “… They’re just being supportive, and it was just all African Americans. It was this strong message.”
Even though he said that his choice wasn’t influenced by the conversations being had in the basketball world, Wright said that he understands how much it means to people. He also hopes that younger athletes will pause and consider other options that are outside the norm for top prospects.
“I just want people to sit there and think about it before they make that decision with their life,” Wright said. “… You don’t have to go to Duke. You don’t have to go to Wake Forest to be productive and to be great at what you do.”
For more from Wright, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Jaylynn Nash/Wake Forest Athletics