The Phoenix Suns have a new member joining the team, and that player is Ish Wainright. Following the release of Chasson Randle during training camp, the Suns had a secondary two-way player spot available to fill entering the 2021-22 season. James Jones chose to fill that spot with the 6’6”, 250-pound Wainright.
Free agent Ish Wainright is signing a two-way contract with the Phoenix Suns, his agents Jim Tanner and Deirunas Visockas of @_tandemse tell ESPN. Wainright, 27, played well in training camp for the Raptors. He's been playing overseas since his Baylor graduation in 2017.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 21, 2021
The Ugandan-American Wainright attended Baylor University and, during his time as a Bear, earned 2017 All-Defensive Team honors. He averaged 5.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 35 games played his senior year. He played alongside former Phoenix Sun Johnathan Motley at Baylor.
Although 6’6”, he was listed as the team’s power forward, and definitely has an imposing presence. He was a tight end for the Baylor football team as well. Just looking at his build you see a miniature version of Amare Stoudemire or Obi Toppin: broad shoulders that go on for days.
Wainright went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft and took his talents to Europe. He played for the Nurnberg Falcons BC in the German Pro-A League in 2018-19, Rasta Vechta in the German BBL in 2019-20, and for SIG Stasbourg in the French LNB Pro A — the country’s highest level of professional basketball. This league has produced the likes of Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, and Tony Parker.
Ish had a solid season in 2021, posting 11.6 points and 4.6 rebounds for SIG Stasbourg, which garnered the attention of the Toronto Raptors. The team signed him to a two-year contract on August 7.
Watch this great interview of Ish from Summer League this year, when he was trying to make the Raptors team.
Raptors forward Ish Wainright breaks down trying to explain his journey from Europe to the NBA:— William Lou (@william_lou) August 13, 2021
"If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. I do it for my kids. I don't want to go back over there. I'm here to stay." pic.twitter.com/zz2tpyFC6n
Unfortunately for Ish, he was the odd man out on the Raptors and found himself on the open market again this past week.
Enter the Suns to scoop him up.
Where will Wainright fit into the Suns’ plans this season? Most likely slotted right next to Chandler Hutchison...getting all of his reps against the Suns first-team in practice. Two-way players can spend up to 50 games of the 82 games on the Suns active roster.
Wainright does bring physicality and depth behind the small/power forward position. He’s a ‘break glass if necessary’ option that brings a hunger and desire to prove he belongs in the Association.
Welcome to Phoenix, Ish.