Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Walter Wright III signs first pro deal, will play in Slovakia

Wright (Montana athletics)
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, marks the beginning of Walter Wright III's professional basketball journey.
Wright, a former standout at Wilby High School, signed his first contract with BK Vahostav, a team located in Zilina, Slovakia. Wright said he hadn't done much research yet, but he will certainly get acquainted with his new city and new teammates in a hurry. He is to arrive in Zilina next Tuesday.
"It's been a long day," Wright said in a Wednesday night phone call. "Lots of [phone] notifications, lots of phone calls."
Zilina is a city of about 85,000 people, which makes it the fourth largest in Slovakia. Their arena gets packed, and it gets loud, something Wright is looking forward to.
"I'm looking to build my resume, build my career, starting with Slovakia," Wright said.
Zilina wasn't the only basketball team interested in Wright. Teams from Poland and France, along with the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League, were talking to Wright and his agent.
The Red Claws, who are part of the Boston Celtics organization, actually have open tryouts on Sept. 23 at the Celtics practice facility in Waltham, Mass. For Wright, however, there was a deal on the table, and he went for it. His family is excited, and so is he.

"I just felt like this was in my best interest," Wright said.
Wright talked with Montana head coach Travis DeCuire before he signed with Zilina. The two spoke for about an hour. DeCuire is "like a father figure," Wright said.
"It was very meaningful having a guy like that to talk to," Wright said.
Wright went to Montana after spending two years at Snow College in Utah.
DeCuire isn't the only positive influence for Wright. There's also former Crosby star Anthony Ireland, another Brass City guy who plays in Lithuania. Wright and Ireland work out together when they are both in Waterbury.
Ireland went through a similar drawn-out process to Wright when it came to finding a team, so he was able to give some guidance.
"He's a city guy, he gives back to his city," Wright said. "I'm looking to follow in his footsteps."
Wright is also looking to start his own footsteps and expand his foundation, The Wright Way. Ireland's AI3 Basketball Leadership Academy is a model for where Wright wants to go. Wright would love to have mentors for young kids on the court while also helping out with their needs in the classroom. 
For now, it's the beginning of a professional basketball journey. It starts next Tuesday when Wright touches down in Slovakia.

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