Morrilton's Wright a 'joy to coach'

by Levi Gilbert

Danielle Wright is a Lady Devil Dog born and bred — the Morrilton native has lived in the 501 her whole life.

The junior point guard was nominated and selected to the inaugural 501 Basketball Team and is poised for a breakout season in the 5A West.

“Danielle has great court awareness and basketball IQ,” Morrilton Coach Carin McNabb wrote in her nomination. “She makes players around her better by getting them the ball where they can score. Danielle is a relentless worker. She is a gym rat. She is determined to be the best she can be and spends countless hours of her own time to accomplish that.”

Wright has played basketball since the third grade and was inspired by her father.

“My dad always played basketball,” Wright said. “My older sister played some, too, and my brother plays now in the seventh grade.”

Wright and the Lady Devil Dogs made it to the state tournament last year, and Wright was named honorable mention all-conference as a sophomore.

“She guarded one of the other team’s best players and distributed the ball well for us,” McNabb said.

Wright’s growth really bloomed in a conference game last year against Clarksville.

“When we played Clarksville at home, I had a couple steals to help get us back in the game,” Wright said. “The crowd got really pumped up. It was a pretty amazing memory at home.”

The Lady Devil Dogs are early in their conference season, and Wright’s responsibilities have increased in her junior campaign.

“We expect great things this year from Danielle,” McNabb said. “We expect her to not only distribute the ball this year, but score for herself as well. She continues to be one of our best defenders.

“Danielle not only is a great player, but her attitude and work ethic make her a joy to coach.”

Wright’s focus this season has been to “become a better scorer” and “better leader” overall.

She faced a scary situation this summer that put her junior season in doubt.

“I tore my meniscus,” Wright said. “Last summer we were playing in Cabot and a girl ran at my knee, it twisted and buckled. I had surgery. I’m good to go now. I have to come back and be a stronger player now.”

Wright is highly organized — a trait that keeps her straight on the court and even more so off of it.

“I get with my friends and study and prepare for my tests,” Wright said. “I take my homework on the bus with me if we are on the road. I make sure I get everything done. I categorize things. I’m very organized.”

Wright’s punctuality and togetherness is contagious.

“Danielle thinks of others first on the court and off; sometimes to a fault,” McNabb said. “Everyone likes her because of her personality and demeanor, and trust her to be there for them. Danielle is willing to help anyone that needs it at any time. She will help others with class work and anything else they need in the classroom.”

Wright also competes in track at Morrilton, running the 400-meter sprint. She also has aspirations to be a coach to younger athletes in Morrilton.

“When I was younger, I had a lot of great coaches that inspired me to better,” Wright said. “I want to be involved with pee wee players in the same way.”