Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
5-star Kijani Wright finds Musselman and staff genuine
ESPN 5-star junior power forward Kijani Wright.
ESPN top-20 prospect Kijani Wright’s values relationships, and after leaving Arkansas from his official visit he found coach Eric Musselman and his staff to be very genuine.
"They all treat me like family and they’re really super genuine," Wright said. "Real conversation every time we talk, even the players. The people are really nice. I really value that."
Wright, 6-9, 228 pounds, of Los Angeles Windward School, is an ESPN 5-star prospect, the No. 2 power forward and No. 16 overall recruit in the nation for the 2022 class.
He revealed Arkansas, Southern California, Stanford, Texas, Florida State, Kansas and Michigan State as his top seven schools in April. He’s leaving Fayetteville with a good vibe.
"Everyone here is really genuine," said Wright, who plays for the 17-under Compton Magic this summer. "Nothing is fake really, so I really value when people are true to themselves and what they mean. It’s been over two years since we’ve been able to talk instead of meeting in-person. Finding that connection really matters."
Wright was accompanied by his mother and his godfather, Doug Joseph, who coaches the 16-under Compton Magic.
He and other prospects around the country are finally getting to visit college campuses and interact with coaches after enduring an NCAA dead period that was put into place last March and lifted last month.
"It’s really special to meet them face to face and really have that in-person bond," Wright said of the Arkansas staff. "I know we had a bond over the phone, but to finally meet them and find their true character like they said.''
Prior to the visit he said he wanted to see if Arkansas was the right fit. Wright believes the Razorbacks could be that.
"I think so, as well as all the other schools," Wright said. "I think I’ll have to talk about it with my family after we’re done taking all the visits and see which school fits my academic interests as well as basketball."
When asked if the visit met his expectations, Wright said the visit was surprising.
Wright started all six games for the 2019 USA U16 National Team that went undefeated and won a gold medal in Belem, Brazil.
He explained how Musselman would utilize him.
"They play 5-out, so of course being a stretch 4 I would be able to handle the ball, shoot the ball, really play position-less basketball, which is what I want to play as well as what Coach Muss envisions me to play if I were to come here," Wright said.
The Arkansas fan base has been excited since word got out about Wright’s plans to officially visit Fayetteville.
"I’ve read some of the news articles and the players have been talking," Wright said. "I’m really finding people are excited when they see me. They’re all wanting me to come here, so it’s really fun.’’
Despite being from Los Angeles, the engaging and personable Wright believes he can fit in at Fayetteville.
"Yeah I’m a LA city-type of kid, but I feel like I fit in pretty much anywhere," Wright said. "I pretty much have a versatile personality. Never have a problem with people and I’m always looking to engage with anybody. Just engage with people and just make them know my presence and just be friendly with anyone."
He has officially visited Southern Cal and Texas and has plans to officially visit Kansas after the trip to Arkansas. Before his visit to Fayetteville, he said Michigan State, Florida State and Stanford were also potential visits.
Wright plans to make his college decision before his senior year.
"Maybe after all the visits I’ll probably make a decision," he said.
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