NORMAN, Okla. University of Oklahoma men's basketball head coach Jeff Capel announced a new member of his team Tuesday. Ryan Wright, a 6-8, 240-pound forward from Mississauga, Ontario, is transferring from UCLA to OU and will have two years of eligibility after he sits out the 2007-08 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Wright, 20, came off the bench in all 28 of his games as a sophomore in 2006-07 and averaged 1.3 points and 0.9 rebounds in 5.4 minutes per contest for a UCLA team that finished 30-6 and advanced to the Final Four. He shot .583 from the field (14-for-24) and .643 from the free throw line (9-for-14). Wright scored a season-high six points in a win over Oregon State and pulled down a season-high four rebounds in a victory over 20th-ranked Kentucky in the third game of the year.
As a freshman in 2005-06, Wright played in 31 games and made four starts for the national runner-up Bruins (finished 32-7). He averaged 2.4 points and 1.5 boards in 9.8 minutes per outing while shooting .566 from the floor (30-for-53) and .419 from the foul line (13-for-31). He recorded a career-high eight points on three occasions (against Michigan, Sacramento State and Washington) and pulled down a career-high eight boards against Michigan.
"We're very excited about Ryan joining the Sooner family," said Capel. "He's a talented young man who just hasn't had a lot of individual success in college basketball yet. But coming to a new environment and a new program, I think his potential for growth and improvement is very good. He has some physical talent that you just can't teach with his size, his strength, his body and his athletic ability. He's a very smart young man and we think he has a chance to be a very, very good player in our program.
"This coming year we're going to spend a lot of time with him on individual skill work and getting him acclimated to things that we want to do and things we want him to do. It's probably going to be a lot different than his first two years in college. We expect him to be a great practice player for us next year, challenging our guys every day. Playing against Longar Longar, Taylor and Blake Griffin, and Keith Clark will help him as much it will help those guys."
Wright was a highly regarded prep player at Loyola Catholic Secondary School when he averaged 21.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 blocks in 2004-05. He led the Warriors to a 35-10 record and earned Toronto Sun first-team all-star honors. Wright was ranked as the 38th best player in the 2005 recruiting class by HoopScoop, 56th by Scout.com and 80th by Rivals.com.
A global studies major at UCLA, Wright earned Academic All-Pac-10 honors this past season.
"He's a great kid, very personable," added Capel about Wright. "He's a guy who will be respected by his teammates and I think he has the potential to be a very good leader for us in the future."