Champlin Park’s McKinley Wright was announced Sunday as the 2017 winner of Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball Award. Wright, a 6-foot senior guard, was selected over four other finalists: Maple Grove’s Brad Davison, Lakeville North’s Nathan Reuvers, DeLaSalle’s Goanar Mar and Watertown-Mayer’s Trae Berhow.
Wright led the Rebels to a 31-1 record and a runner-up finish in the Class 4A boys’ basketball tournament, averaging 22.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game.
The announcement likely provided some consolation for Wright in the wake of a disappointing Saturday. He found out that morning that Archie Miller, the coach who recruited him to Dayton University, resigned to take the head coaching position at Indiana. That evening, Wright was held to 14 points and four rebounds as No. 1-ranked Champlin Park lost to Apple Valley 60-54 in the 4A championship game.
In an interview last week, Wright, who was honored as the Star Tribune’s Metro Player of the Year, was candid about how important winning the Mr. Basketball Award was to him.
“It’s been my goal since my freshman year to win Mr. Basketball,” Wright said. “My sophomore year, my [former] teammate J.T. Gibson won it and he told me I was going to win it when I was a senior. I’ve been working for it. It makes you feel like you’re the best player in the state.”
The Mr. Basketball award winner is selected by the Mr. Basketball Committee, a group of longtime basketball supporters who took over the award when Ken Lien, the chairman and owner of the award, relinquished control in the wake of a series of social media posts considered offensive and racist.
The award was first given in 1975, won by Gene Glynn of Waseca. Glynn is currently the third base coach for the Twins.