Not everyone knows what it takes to get to the next level, let alone to the highest level of a sport. But Dorell Wright does. Before he became head coach at Donda Academy, the former NBA small forward was a first-round pick in the ’04 Draft straight out of high school and went on to win an NBA championship the following season in 2006 as the youngest member of the Miami Heat. After nearly 12 years playing in the League with the Warriors, Sixers, and Trail Blazers and overseas, Wright got into coaching after he retired mainly because of his own children—he coached his son, Devin, in middle school and co-founded his own AAU program, Team Wright Legacy, with his brother Delon.
With a coaching style that’s a “mixture” of the legends he’s been coached by in the past—demanding at times like Stan Van Gundy, but still motivational like Pat Riley—Wright is ready to help the next generation of hoopers at Donda. Featuring a stacked roster including Kentucky-commit Robert Dillingham and top-50 recruits JJ Taylor and AJ Johnson, many of the Doves have already started making names for themselves on the national circuit and even graced the cover of SLAM 236.
“You could get those kids that are super entitled [and] super into what they’ve done, [but] one thing about me, I’ve done just as much as them at this level, you know? Probably even a little more. But it’s never an ego trip on my side or with the kids,” Wright says over Zoom. “The returning players want to have a better result than what they did last year, so they’re buying in. And then the guys that we added are just great kids, [who are] looking at this as using this platform, getting more offers [and] learning the terminology of the game of basketball from somebody that did it at the highest level.”
Photos by Dominique Oliveto.