Jahmal Wright is the only senior on the men’s basketball team

Wright on being a leader and learning from those before him

photo of Jahmal Wright dunking over a ball in a game.
Wright’s goal is to help SFU make an impact in Divison II basketball. PHOTO: Paul Yates / SFU Athletics

By: Hannah Kazemi, Staff Writer

The men’s basketball team is looking a little bit different this year with Jahmal Wright as the only senior on the squad. To his surprise, Wright didn’t realize this was the case until he showed up for the first day of  practice. This didn’t phase him; he says being the oldest player just means he’ll have more eyes on him. “I think people are looking up to me for different leadership purposes and energy. I feel like I need to bring a certain amount of energy every single day, because now I’m one of the main leaders on the team.”

Wright isn’t taking this role for granted, though, and says he lets his game speak for itself. He told The Peak he wants to focus on showing up and being present for his team. “If we’re in a game or practicing and I don’t bring the energy from the jump, from the beginning of the game, then [the team is] gonna fall below what I’m doing. They’re gonna follow my lead and my actions,” he said. “I’m holding myself to a bit of a higher standard than usual. In the long run, it’ll be good for not just me, but for the whole program.” 

The forward believes the team’s energy with 12 new recruits, and the different skills that each of them brings to the court, will offset the lack of experience some of their younger players have. While Wright anticipates more “slip-ups” and “minor setbacks” along the way, it isn’t anything he feels the  returning players won’t be able to handle.

Wright reminisced about the benefits of having seniors to look up to last season. He attributed them for his newfound leadership and intentions on how to support the current team. “I kind of just like to take those [routines], and apply them to myself, and then I like to lead by example. So kind of like having the younger guys watch me and see how I like to go about my day.” 

He maintained a positive attitude and outlook on the team this season, implying that just because the team is young doesn’t mean they should be discounted or expectations should be different.

“Yes, we’re a young team, but we still have the same expectations. We still want to bring that same fire, energy, and desire so we can be successful and be a winning team.” Being a winning team to Wright means hoisting the conference championship at the end of the season. “I want to play in Divison II March Madness. That’s my main milestone,” said Wright. “The only way we can do that is by winning games, so I want to win as many games as possible with this team.” 

While that’s the goal, Wright’s main priority is being a good teammate. “I want to make great connections with each and every guy,” he said. “I really want to make a name. I want SFU men’s basketball to [be] that major name in Division II basketball, being the only Canadian NCAA [team]. I want to put them on the map.”