B.League: Wright excited to play with former NBA players in Kyoto

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2022 03:05 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2022 03:36 PM

Matthew Wright of the Kyoto Hannaryz with General Manager Takuma Watanabe and coach Roy Rana.. (c) Kyoto Hannaryz
Matthew Wright of the Kyoto Hannaryz with General Manager Takuma Watanabe and coach Roy Rana.. (c) Kyoto Hannaryz

Matthew Wright believes Kyoto Hannaryz will be a difficult team to defend in the upcoming season of the B.League. 

The Filipino-Canadian guard signed with Kyoto after six years with Phoenix Super LPG in the PBA. There, he will reunite with his former coach, Roy Rana, and play with former NBA players Cheick Diallo and Jarrod Uthoff.

"The coach and the coaching staff has decided to change my role this year a little bit, just to maximize offensively our talent that we have," said Wright of his role in Kyoto, where he is expected to be more of a playmaker. 

Diallo, who had stints with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Phoenix Suns, will be Wright's primary pick-and-roll partner and the guard is looking forward to showing off their chemistry.

"Definitely, he's been great," Wright said of the 26-year-old Diallo. "He's very good in the pick-and-roll."

"And we also have another former NBA player in Jarrod Uthoff who's the exact opposite of that, who's a pick-and-pop man," he added.

Uthoff, 29, played for several teams in the NBA G League and also had stints with the Dallas Mavericks, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Washington Wizards before taking his act to the B.League in 2021.

"We feel like we can put things in a lot of bind, [that] they have to guard all three of us at the same time," said Wright. "I think we have a very good system working for us right now."

Wright's season with the Hannaryz starts on October 1 against the Sendai 89ers. For the guard, it's the change of scenery that he needs after six seasons in the PBA that he said were full of "ups and downs."

"I felt that it was time for me to make a change -- change in atmosphere, change in scenery, change in just the environment. I felt like the B.League is on its way up. It's definitely a rising league in Asia," he explained.

"Basketball is starting to grow a lot more in this country, with the additions of a few NBA players who are Japanese. So you can see that basketball is definitely on the rise here, and I just wanna be a part of it," he added.

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