BY ALEX MITCHELL
It was just a dream for Laurelton’s Justin Wright-Foreman to hear his name called during the NBA Draft when playing only a slim, handful of minutes as a freshman guard at Hofstra University in 2015-16.
Now in 2019, after earning back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association’s player of the year titles as the second highest scorer in the nation for both total points and points per game, it’s not so shocking why the Utah Jazz selected Wright-Foreman in the second round as the fifty third overall draft pick on Saturday, June 20.
“I feel like I was just a freshman,” Wright-Foreman said in Salt Lake City in the days following his big break.
“For all of this to be going on and everything to be happening, I’m just feeling extremely blessed,” the standout guard continued.
Nearly speechless upon the overnight news, he took to Twitter right after and simply posted “Wow” while still in a state of awe.
Wright-Foreman truly began to roar for the Hofstra Pride in his sophomore season when he evolved into a starting role off Hempstead Turnpike.
It was around JWF’s breakout that Hofstra was faced with the tall and tough task of versing the sixth ranked Kentucky Wildcats at Barclays Center.
Although the Pride fell to the fellow jungle cats by a score of 96-73, Justin Wright-Foreman put on an offensive display that caught national attention for the first time.
“(He was) not afraid of us at all,” Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari said in Brooklyn.
It was so much of a scoring frenzy that Kentucky’s Head Coach even admitted uneasiness about a possible rematch Wright-Foreman and Hofstra during the NCAA tournament.
“I realized that game that these guys were regular players out there,” Wright-Foreman said.
Although that Kentucky game was when the nation was first piqued to Justin Wright-Foreman’s scoring capabilities, Hofstra’s Head Coach Joe Mihalich had seen it while scouting JWF at the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering, and Architecture in Jamaica.
“I remember scouting Justin as a senior and thinking to myself, wow this guy really can score,” Mihalich said.
By the time JWF was a junior at Hofstra, Mihalich realized that he was not only a natural born scorer, but it was his NBA skill.
“Players that get drafted usually hold a specific skill or trait that gets them noticed by scouts, his was scoring, he scores like a professional,” the CAA Coach of the Year continued.
That professional scoring skill was put to the highest test during JWF’s senior season when Hofstra trailed rival William & Mary late into the second half.
Wright-Foreman put up a program high 48 points for Hofstra with most of the scoring coming in the game’s closing minutes to complete the comeback in what’s gone down as one of the most exciting games in Hofstra basketball history.
“I’ve never seen someone score like that in person,” Mihalich said.
Wright-Foreman closed out his collegiate career shortly following that momentous evening at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex, totaling 2,327 points while consecutively scoring double figures in his final 88 games, the seventh longest streak in division 1 basketball history.
“It shows that dreams can come true at Hofstra,” Mihalich said about the mid-major team.
Before wearing a blue and gold gown and tassel, JWF was selected to play in the 3X3 tournament in Las Vegas where he once again, put on a scoring display that caught the eyes of the nation and NBA scouts this April.
He also forged a bond with former in-conference rival and future teammate on the Jazz, Jarrell Brantley from the College of Charleston.
They along with the rest of the CAA team went on to win the 3X3 tournament along with its $100,000 prize, nearly breaking defenders ankles in the process.
“We’ve just been bonding ever since after going to war for four years,” Wright-Foreman said.
Justin Wright-Foreman officially debuted in the NBA on Monday, July 1st against the Memphis Grizzlies in the association’s summer league; he not only held his own but put up some impressive finishing moves to the hoop in the process.
“It’s going to be a ride,” he said.