All the Wright Moves

Over the years Oak Hill High School has become synonymous with producing quality basketball talent. Players like former West Virginia University guard Tracy Shelton and former Marshall standouts Cornelius Jackson and Monty Wright are three of 21 former Red Devils who have gone on to play at the college level.

Soon there will be another name to add to the list of great players who have donned the red and black and continued on to play college basketball.

Kalif Wright, a 6-foot-6, 210 pound senior, has taken all the necessary steps to solidify his legacy among the Oak Hill greats.

During his career the four-year starter has been named to the Class AA all-state team twice while leading the Red Devils to their first state championship since the1989 campaign. Wright has already surpassed the 1,000 point mark, gaining the interest from college recruiters in the process.

Thus far Wright has been on a tear averaging 26 points per game along with 12 rebounds and four blocks.’s recruiting site lists Wright as a one-star prospect and ranks him in the top 200 best power forwards in the nation. The site says of Wright, “He has a good body and has the capacity to become stronger over the next couple of years. Wright could become a very solid post prospect for a low-major program.”

To whom or what does Wright credit his success?

“I can’t think of many days where I haven’t been in the gym,” said Wright. “I didn’t do it as much last year but since we won the championship, we know that everybody wants to knock us off. We’ve got a target on us now and we understand that. That’s been stated since we won the championship.”

Aside from countless hours in the Red Devil gymnasium honing his craft, Wright gained valuable experience and exposure last summer on the AAU circuit.

Playing for the West Virginia Wildcats Select AAU team with guys like Class AAA all-staters Pierria Henry (South Charleston) and Chase Fischer (Ripley), Wright was on a stage where he was able to garner interest from colleges such as St. Francis (Pa), Radford, Delaware and Miami (OH).

Anyone who hasn’t been able to see Wright in action can visit YouTube, search his name, and watch videos of how well the big man gets up and down the court and finishes in transition. Often times these fast-break buckets consist of rim-rattling dunks by the athletic senior.

As a team, Oak Hill returns four starters and their sixth and seventh-man from their state championship team last year.

“We’ve got a real good team,” Wright said. “We have a great staff here. Coach (Fred) Ferri does and great job and we have two former college players (Monty Wright and Benitez Jackson) here. I’m happy here. All my friends are here. And we want to try to win it again.”

The path to a second consecutive state title isn’t going to be smooth-sailing for Wright and his teammates.

Statewide Class AA is loaded with talented teams this year, including current undefeated squads Shady Spring, Wyoming East and Poca; all of whom the Red Devils will face at different points this season.

Wright looks at the tough competition as a challenge, “That’s what I’m working hard for, man.”

His hard-work has also earned the respect of Oak Hill Coach Fred Ferri. “Kalif is capable of taking over a high school game,” Ferri said. “I know he has worked hard to be even better. He is an outstanding player.”

So what does Kalif Wright think of Oak Hill’s chances at a Class AA championship repeat?

“We have to remain humble,” he said. “I don’t want to say we’re favorites, but …”

If things go “Wright” for Oak Hill, they will be hoisting their second consecutive state championship trophy come March.


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