This will go down as one of the most successful seasons in Wright State men’s basketball history, and the Raiders have done it all with potentially one of their best players on the bench in street clothes all season.
Butler transfer Chrishawn Hopkins, a 6-foot-1 junior guard from Indianapolis, won’t be eligible to play in Wright State games until Dec. 18, 2013, but he’s been practicing with the Raiders since January.
It’s been hard sitting and watching for Hopkins, and that will continue because the Raiders (22-12) beat Tulsa 72-52 on Wednesday at the Nutter Center and will host Richmond (19-14) at 7 p.m. Monday in the second round of the College Basketball Invitational.
“It’s killing me every day I have to sit out,” he said. “It’s a daily grind. I’m just waiting.
“They’ve been doing great things since I’ve been here. They’ve been making major strides to get better every day. Playing in the postseason is a good thing for this program. They’re putting everything they have into it. They should have went to the NCAA tournament. Hopefully, we can win this tournament.”
Hopkins averaged 9.1 points in 37 games as a sophomore at Butler. In September, he was dismissed from the team for an unspecified repeat rules violation. In October, he announced he would transfer to Wright State.
Hopkins will added an offensive punch to a team that ranked last in the Horizon League in scoring this season.
“From watching all the games and practices, I’m not going to say they lack anything, but they probably need more help with the dribble penetration and making plays for everybody else,” he said. “I feel I bring that to the team. I like making other people better, so it’ll be an easy transition for me.”
Hopkins will have plenty of practice time with his new teammates under his belt by the time he actually gets to play in a game.
“It’s hard to stay in shape when they’re traveling,” Hopkins said Wednesday. “I’m just here by myself. I still get in the gym to shoot. I try to help the best way I can.”
Game prep: The Wright State coaches and players may not have known much about Tulsa before the CBI bracket came out Sunday night, but these days it doesn’t take long to get the necessary research done.
“With modern technology, we were able to watch every game of their season,” Wright State coach Billy Donlon said. “That’s the good part of not living in caveman times. You just have to work a little bit later. They were well prepared for us. They knew some of our calls. Their staff did a really good job.
Ticket info: Tickets cost $13 for Monday’s game against Richmond, or $10 for season-ticket holders.