Wright shines as senior forward
Kaleb Wright, senior forward and health promotions major, just finished his final campaign at Emporia State. Wright had three 30-point games, including his senior night against Washburn. He helped start the turn around of the men’s basketball program.
“When Kaleb was locked in and engaged and had the right mindset, he was a very good leader…Talent-wise, there is no question about his talent. He is very talented,” said Shaun Vandiver, head coach. “What I would like to see Kaleb improve on is his ability to communicate positively. He has gotten better at it. The biggest thing Kaleb got better at from his first year to now was his shot improved from the outside and he got in better shape.”
In the Hornets’ best stretch of the season, a five-game winning streak, Wright went off, scoring at least 20 points in all five games. He was one of the team’s leading rebounders in that stretch, as well, pulling down at least 8 per game.
“I was very important to the team’s success. My job was to bring leader and I did that with passion,” Wright said. “Over my time here, I grew as a leader and I owe that to Coach V for always staying on me (to) become a better leader.”
For a team that seemed like they could get 20 points and 10 rebounds from four different players on any given night, Wright was the guy that it seemed like the team could always count on to show up when they needed a spark.
Terrence Moore, sophomore guard and physical education major, said Wright was a part of their success because he was there a couple of years before some of the other players.
“(He) got to witness this tough conference firsthand, so matching his high level of play and intensity was crucial throughout the season,” Moore said.
Moore also said Wright not only led vocally, but mainly through his actions.
“(Wright) will be missed greatly next year, but for him… his college career is closed and now a door for him to play for a living opened up,” Moore said. “I know he will keep in contact to pass things down to me as an individual and keep this program rolling.”
When Wright transferred to ESU two seasons ago in 2011-2012, the program was in a state of flux, with Vandiver as a first-time head coach, only two returning players and no returning starters. Statistics-wise, Wright was the best player on the team that year but he couldn’t play since he had transferred. The team that year was 9-18, only taking 4 wins in the MIAA.
Now, the program has had back-to-back winning seasons and won an MIAA tournament game for the first time under Vandiver.