Waterbury’s Walter Wright played against Final Four participant Oregon

Wright (Montana athletics)

Oregon took down Kansas in Kansas City, Missouri, over the weekend to reach its second-ever Final Four.
One player who has seen the Ducks up close is Waterbury native Walter Wright, a former standout at Wilby High School. Wright and his University of Montana men’s basketball team played Oregon in Eugene on Dec. 13 and lost 81-67.
Wright played 23 minutes against Oregon and scored 12 points. He was 5-of-12 from the field, 2-of-6 at the foul line, and had three steals. Wright had two assists, three turnovers and committed four personal fouls in the game.
The Griz were down just four points at halftime, 38-34, before the Ducks pulled away in the second half.
“They’re good individually, but as a team, that’s what puts them over the top,” Wright said in a phone interview Monday.
That point has been validated by what Oregon has done after losing Chris Boucher. Boucher tore his ACL in the PAC-12 Tournament, yet the Ducks are in the Final Four.
“I think that the system they have, the players they have,” Wright said. “Dillon Brooks is a great leader. Their bigs are very good.”
Wright also played against Gonzaga and Kansas as a junior at Montana. The Griz actually led Gonzaga in the final minute of the fourth quarter, but an offensive rebound and bucket gave the game to The Zags.
Wright said last season’s Kansas team was the best he played against. This season’s Jayhawks were a No. 1 seed playing in Kansas City, less than 45 minutes from their campus, but the Ducks prevailed.
“For Oregon to go out there and get that win, that says a lot about them,” Wright said.
Montana was built for speed after losing Martin Breunig to graduation. The Griz wanted to make the Ducks uncomfortable and take them out of their game, Wright said. Boucher turned out to be the deciding factor with 23 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks.
So how is Oregon in the Final Four without Boucher? Wright knows the answer.
“They have guys that can fill in and step up any given night,” Wright said.
Oregon’s talented team will be a tough out in the Final Four.