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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Missouri makes SG Namon Wright fair game for Utes, others

Let’s make one thing crystal clear: This following post is not based on anything we’ve heard from Utah coaches.

NCAA regulations prohibit coaches from speaking to a player signed by another school, so until Los Angeles shooting guard Namon Wright obtained his release from new Missouri head coach Kim Anderson on Thursday, the Utes couldn’t have spoken to him even if they did have interest.

But Wright has been much buzzed-about by Ute fans, his high school coach says Utah is in the running, and he tweeted this out Thursday afternoon:

Wright is rated as a 4-star shooting guard by both Rivals and Scout recruiting services. Pacific Hills High School coach Ivan Barahona told The Tribune last week that Wright committed to the Tigers in part because he felt comfortable with coach Frank Haith. After Haith left for Tulsa, Wright angled for a release to contact other schools and weigh his options.

"He still has Missouri high on his list," Barahona said. "He wants to be able to talk to other coaches just in case things don’t pan out for him at Missouri."

So why would he talk to Utah?

Well, Utah offered him before he signed with Missouri in November. Not only that, but Utah point guard Brandon Taylor is a fellow Pacific Hills alum and, Barahona says, so close to Wright that they communicate on a daily basis.

"Brandon has flourished over at Utah," Barahona said. "He has nothing but positive things to say about the coaching staff, and they’re trending in the right direction."

Barahona says Wright picked up basketball in middle school and the light really came on for the 6’5 scorer when he saw college coaches’ interest build in Taylor. Wright led Pacific Hills to a state title as a junior in 2012-13, and schools from all over the nation came calling.

"I honestly think that he isn’t a complete student of the game just yet," said Barahona, who confirmed Thursday that Wright is considering Utah. "His ceiling’s pretty high. He’s a damn good player now but he’s not even close to reaching his full potential."

And with the loss of Serbian big man Marko Kovacevic due to undisclosed family issues, the Utes do have a free scholarship.

— Matthew Piper

mpiper@sltrib.com

Twitter: @matthew_piper



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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