Jahmal Wright talks about pillars of support during his first season at SFU

Wright praised his mom and her sacrifices in supporting his dreams

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Close up shot of Jahmal Wright trying to pass off the ball
The graduate athlete will play his final year at SFU next year. Photo: Paul Yates

By: Luke Faulks, Staff Writer

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Position: Wing

Masters Program: Liberal Arts

​​You’d be hard-pressed to find a time when Jahmal Wright wasn’t playing basketball. He started shooting hoops at the age of four, and signed up to play competitively when he turned nine. Despite playing a host of other sports, he always came back to basketball. “Basketball was my first love, so I was kinda drawn to it from the beginning,” said Wright. 

After high school, he got a basketball scholarship to go to Miami Dade College for a two-year degree. He then transferred to University of Maryland Eastern Shore where he graduated with a Bachelor of Sociology. Now, he’s at SFU for a Masters in Liberal Studies while playing ball. 

Wright felt some culture shock studying in the United States as a Canadian. “Maryland was actually a [historically] Black college but still a culture shock because [ . . . ] there were no other Canadians there,” he said. “There’s a lot more African Americans on the basketball team, so we kind of stuck together at both schools I was at and became a family.”

Wright has been able to get into game action this year, after missing the last two seasons due to COVID-19. “It has been a rollercoaster. Especially this season, we’ve had a couple cancelled games [ . . . ]  and we ended up having to play three games in three different cities in five days. 

“It was really equivalent to an NBA schedule some weeks,” he remarked. “It was a good experience. There was definitely some adversity with growing pains and chemistry, but overall, it was a really fun time.”

In those difficult moments, Wright said he relied on his mom, who lives in Ontario. “I talk to my mom pretty much every day,” he said. “If I have a bad game, she’s the first person to criticize me, but she’s also the first person to tell me [ . . . ] there’s always going to be another game.”

Wright credits his mom with helping get his basketball career off the ground. “She is the hardest worker that I’ve ever encountered. There’s been times where she’s worked two or three jobs just so that she could pay for me to play basketball,” he noted.

“That is fuel.” 

His mom isn’t his sole source of support. “I’ve got my coaches,” he said. “Those guys they’re very big on staying positive, especially off the court.” He also gave a shout out to his teammates, specifically center Julian Roche

“He’s my roommate on most trips and the conversations that we’ve had have definitely gotten me through some mental blocks that I had during the season,” said Wright. “He’s definitely helped me improve my game and improve my mental [health].”

Wright has one more year of college basketball eligibility, which he’ll be using at SFU. He envisions a full year ahead, including “the GNAC championship in [2023] and just getting better day by day, on and off the court. 

“After I’m done my Masters, I want to play professionally overseas,” revealed Wright. He has ambitions beyond that, too. “My dream job besides being a professional athlete, of course, would be to be a broadcaster or sports journalist, so hopefully, all goes according to plan.”