Jo-Jo Wright, the exceptional sophomore point guard from Uniondale High School and the top public school player in Nassau County, was killed in an automobile accident Wednesday afternoon, Nassau County police confirmed.
Wright, 15, was selected to Newsday’s All-Long Island boys basketball team as a freshman and stood to become one of the Island’s most decorated players.
He was pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, police said.
Wright was traveling to a local gymnasium — Uniondale High School’s is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic — for a workout. Also in the car was Knights teammate senior Moses Styles, who is recovering at an area hospital, according to Uniondale coach Tom Diana.
"I am devastated," Diana said. "He was the best. A different kind of kid. He was funny and playful and full of life … And he might have been one of the most talented players to ever walk the halls at our school. He had a great future."
The accident occurred at Front Street and Maple Avenue in Uniondale when the car carrying Wright, a 2012 Honda CRV, collided with a 2006 Toyota driven by an 87-year-old male, according to police. The collision caused the CRV to hit a pole.
Wright was in the back seat. The driver and other passengers were transported to other local hospitals. All were 18 or younger.
Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a spokesman with the Nassau County police, confirmed Wright was the passenger who died.
"On behalf of the Nassau County Police Department, our condolences go out to the family, friends and teammates of Jomani (Jo-Jo) Wright," LeBrun said in a statement.
Diana said that he and the team were meeting at the high school Wednesday night to huddle and meet with grief counselors.
Wright was not only a special talent on the basketball court but a charismatic person off it. Diana said he excelled in the classroom and was still growing. He was listed at 5-8. Diana and Wright often talked about how his name should appear in Newsday: The coach favored Jo Jo Wright to sync with the NBA Hall of Famer Jo Jo White.
"I know this gets lost because of what a great basketball player he was, but he was an even better person," Diana said. "He had goals but he was always a good person.
"[Wright] wanted to be a big-time player and he had a work ethic to match that," he added. "I don’t know who worked harder. It’s great when your best player is also your hardest worker. I have no doubt he could have become whatever he wanted in basketball."
During the 2019-20 season, Wright averaged 19 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. He made Newsday’s All-LI team as a freshman.
A great passer and scorer, Wright helped carry Uniondale to the Nassau County championship game last season, where it lost, 61-60, to Baldwin.
The Knights finished 20-2, which included a 19-game winning streak that was snapped in the county championship game. Wright scored 36 points, including eight three-pointers, in a victory over Massapequa last season.
"I can go on about his talent on a basketball court for hours," Diana said. "People need to remember he was insightful, intelligent and charismatic. I am heartbroken today."
With Antonio Planas