As a fifth-year senior Kat Wright is one of the most experienced members on the team and helps guide the younger players
Standing at 6-feet, you would expect senior forward Kat Wright to be a post player, making finesse moves in the paint or driving physically to the rim. But make no mistake: Wright is a shooter. In her college career she has made 151 total 3-pointers, almost breaking an NCAA record when she made eleven 3-pointers in one game.
Wright started playing basketball at the age of six, and when the ball was in her hands she was able to shoot.
“My dad coached me since I was 5 or 6 years old, and we were always in the gym or the driveway, shooting around,” Wright said. “And he taught me how to really shoot. When I was six I was the only kid on the team trying to make 3-pointers. You know because my dad would encourage me, I would shoot from all over the place, and sometimes I would make it.”
Wright grew up in Woodland Hills, Calif. Surrounded by basketball. First, it was by watching her older brother David play.
“I would watch my brother play a lot. I was in dance, he was in basketball, and then we kind of switched,” Wright said.
David lost interest in basketball, but Wright picked it up, with a little help from her dad David Sr., who used to play.
Over time, David Sr. became more involved and began coaching his daughter, helping her develop new skills and learn the game.
“He taught me a lot,” Wright said, “but whenever I would get in trouble it would not be good.”
For Wright, a mistake at home sometimes resulted in sitting out the next game. As Wright got older, basketball became more of a challenge and started to mean a lot more.
”I remember I really started taking the game seriously when I was 14, we won AAU (American Athletic Union) Nationals for our age group, and I started thinking, ‘this is something I’m good at, and could do in the future,’” Wright said.
Wright said she started realizing more about who she was in high school and in the AAU, and learned that playing basketball gave her many opportunities that could potentially open doors in the future.
One of those opportunities came at an AAU Tournament, when she grabbed the attention of scouts from Florida Atlantic University.
“At that point, I didn’t have reservations about how far I went from home. I visited, and I saw the beach was only a mile away, so I was sold,” Wright said.
Wright immediately made an impact for the Owls when she stepped onto the court. In her first career start as a freshman, she made four 3-pointers, and finished the night with 14 points.
At the end of her freshman season Wright tore her ACL, but that didn’t stop her. While recovering, she spent hours in the gym, perfecting her 3-point shot.
“I sat out a while, so I had a lot of time to really work on my shot. And that practice helped me play more confident,” Wright said.
By her junior season, Wright was averaging 11 points a game and was shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.
However, the team chemistry at FAU wasn’t ideal, and the eventual resignation of head coach Kellie Lewis Jay disheartened Wright.
“There were a lot of clashing personalities at FAU, and it affected things on and off the court,” Wright said. “My coach was also my biggest mentor there, and seeing her leave was pretty upsetting.”
The distance and time away from her family in California also started to sink in for Kat.
“I have a younger brother back home, and for the last four years I didn’t really see him grow up,” Wright said. “I think I missed my family more than I anticipated [while] in Florida.”
Another ACL injury in her last year at FAU was the final straw, leaving Wright to take a medical redshirt her senior season. In May, Wright received a Bachelor’s in Business Management from FAU, and in the same month transferred to Arizona.
“There were a couple of things that brought me out here. It’s closer to home, so my family gets to see me play more, and it was the coaches — when I took my visit they made it feel like it was home, and that’s what I wanted,” Wright said in an interview with Arizona Athletics.
The team atmosphere also appealed to Wright more at the UA than it did in Florida.
“The girls here ... they’re on a mission. At Arizona, business is business on the court, but we can still have fun and joke around off of it,” Wright said.
Transferring from a mid-major school to a major school also means an upgrade in facilities, which was a definite plus for Wright.
“We had to share the game gym with the men’s team for practices and shoot-arounds [at FAU], whereas here [Arizona] I can go to RJ and just shoot around when I feel like it, which is a big step up,” Wright said.
As a fifth-year senior, Wright is undoubtedly one of the most experienced members on the team and helps teach and guide the younger players. Knowing that this will be her final year has given Wright increased motivation to play to her best ability.
”I’ve helped some of the younger players get some extra shots in, or [I] have them come to practice early or do a little extra work out, so I can show them how it pays off, in the hopes of them continuing these habits next year,” Wright said.
Wright envisions herself coaching college basketball after her career, possibly at Arizona, and she is pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership, which offers a sports streamline.
But as for her last season, Wright simply wants to make the most of it.
“This year, I want to be the best all-around player I can be,” Wright said.
No matter how well she plays, or how many signature 3-pointers she sinks, Wright is happy that she finished her career strong closer to family, friends and right at home in Arizona.