Westchester Knicks Season Review: Keith Wright

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - MARCH 15: Keith Wright
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - MARCH 15: Keith Wright /

At the midway point of the 2015-16 season, the Westchester Knicks acquired Keith Wright from the Austin Spurs in exchange for fellow Harvard alum Wesley Saunders. Wright saw limited action with the Spurs (8.8 minutes per game) and a change in scenery was best for the 6-foot-8 forward.

Upon joining the team, Wright was reunited with Westchester Knicks head coach Mike Miller, who was an assistant coach for Austin during the 2014-15 season.

“Coach Mike Miller was my assistant coach in Austin my first year, so when I got traded here at the end of last season he just told me just do what I do,” Keith Wright said in January. “That was all the confidence I needed from the coach. When the coach has confidence in you, it’s easy to play as a player.”

Shortly after being acquired, he was a huge presence off the bench on the defensive end and on the glass.

In his first four games with the Knicks, Wright totaled 10 rebounds on two occasions. Also, he notched his first double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds) in his fourth game against the Erie BayHawks.

After playing an important role during the 2015-16 season, Keith Wright returned to the Westchester Knicks the following season.

Unlike the previous season, the New York Knicks sent players down to Westchester on multiple occasions during the season, which meant Keith Wright came off the bench on some occasions. Even with that, it didn’t limit the production he gave the team.

The impact he provided on the defensive end, along with his strong work ethic and being the team’s leading rebounder (of those who played at least 20 games), was huge for the Dub Knicks.

Not only does Keith Wright pride himself on his work ethic, but he wants to be a problem for the opposition.

“I just grind,” Wright said. “I work hard and pride myself on working harder than anyone else that I’m playing against and I want to be a problem. I want to be one of those players that guys don’t look forward to playing against. That’s what I’ve always had and I know I’m not as athletic as some guys. Maybe not as strong as other guys, so I have to figure out a way to put me above them and prove that I’m better than them in some way, so my working ethic is one that I take pride in.”

It didn’t take too long for Keith Wright to make an impactful game-clinching play that helped propel the Westchester Knicks to a victory. In front of a record-breaking crowd of 3,341 fans at the Westchester County Center, Wright recorded one of the top-10 plays of the season against the Santa Cruz Warriors.

In the final 20 seconds of the game of the Knicks, Phil Pressey tried to clinch the win for the Warriors, but Wright wasn’t going to let that happen. The Harvard product stopped Pressey at the rim and gave the Knicks their fifth win of the season.

After losing a tough game to the South Bay Lakers at home, Westchester traveled north to Canada to face the Raptors 905. In a hard-fought battle against the eventual NBA G League Champions, the two teams battled until the final seconds of the game. Off a missed lay-up by Damien Inglis, Keith Wright tipped it in and gave the Dub Knicks their ninth win of the season.

Keith Wright detailed the play and what it was like to get the game-winning shot on the road.

“I needed to make up for the two missed free throws I had prior to that, so we had the time out,” Wright said. “Jaylen Bond was like, you know ‘if we get those two free throws, hit the glass, hit the glass’ and I was like, ‘for sure.’ And it just so happens that the ball just found it’s way in my vicinity and I was able to get a hand on it, so it was great.”

Not only were those two of the top-10 plays of the season, but those plays were crucial for the Westchester Knicks.

Without a true center on the squad for most of the season, Wright often played center. For the Harvard product, it wasn’t difficult playing out of position for most of the season.

“Not difficult at all,” Wright said. “I’m one of those players that coach asks me to do a role, I have a role and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to complain about it. So, that’s onto my next opportunity whatever role they have me do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. So if that’s going overseas and scoring, I’m going to have more focus on that, but that’s just the role they wanted me to play coming in.”

In the final quarter of the season, Keith Wright played his best basketball of the season. Not only was Wright getting it done on the scoring side, but he was also grabbing boards and blocking shots.

One of his most productive games came in March of 2017 against the Canton Charge. In that game, Wright totaled 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

In the final month of the season, he totaled four double-doubles, which was half of amount he totaled for the entire season. The Harvard product stated his confidence played a significant role in his production.

“Just confidence,” Wright said. “Having more confidence in the coaches relying on me. Just working hard. Out-working guys on the offensive rebounds really is the main thing. My focus was go on a stretch and be really consistent and it happened and I’m glad it did.”

In 47 games, Keith Wright averaged 8.8 points and 6.9 rebounds on 53.9 shooting from the field in 26.7 minutes per game. With a minimum of 20 games played, he was first on the team in rebounds per game.

In addition, he recorded eight double-doubles in the season. After the season finale, Wright noted his biggest takeaway was playing against the top guys in the NBA G League and taking a step as a leader.

“I got an opportunity to play and show what I can do and I played against some of the top guys in the D-League [now the NBA G League] and some guys that have had NBA experience and held my own,” Wright said. “That’s the biggest takeaway. And then just taking a step as a leader, being in that different role and leading guys that were older than me at times, so that was definitely new and something that I’m going to take with me and hold with me and hopefully get better at next season and on in life.”

On Apr. 17, Keith Wright was awarded the Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award, which is given to the player who represents character and conduct on and off the court.

Must Read: Keith Wright’s Journey From Harvard To Westchester

After finishing the season with the Westchester Knicks, Keith Wright signed with Mahindra Floodbuster of the Philippine Basketball Association. Four days after Westchester’s season finale, Wright suited up for the team and recorded a double-double. In 43 minutes, the Harvard product totaled 17 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

Keith Wright played in the team’s final seven games and had many impressive outings. Wright ended the season on a high note by recording back-to-back 20-plus rebound games.

Must Read: Tracking the development of Tim Hardaway Jr.

The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 19.6 points and 15.3 rebounds on 45.7 shooting from the field in 41.2 minutes per game.