On The Road: Brandon Wright

<b>NASHVILLE, Tenn. – </b>Brentwood Academy is known primarily for its football prowess. But, after last year's state basketball title times are changing. Sophomore forward Brandon Wright has everything to do with the turnaround.

The Marshall County Hoopfest in Benton, Ky., doesn't tip until Thursday night. En route to the event a stop-off in Nashville to see one of the nation's elite sophomores was mandatory.

Brandon Wright, TheInsiders.com's No. 5 pre-season sophomore, checks in at 6-9 and a shade less than 200 pounds. He's not the first big timer to come out of Brentwood Academy in Nashville, but he could wind up being the best which is heavy praise considering the school counts David Harrison of Colorado among its alums.

Wright, blessed with a body style similar to that of Chris Bosh, doesn't see it so much as following in the footsteps of Harrison but more of a carving out his own path to the big time. "No disrespect to him, but he was post oriented," Wright said. "If I get triple-teamed I can step out.

"There's no pressure following him. I think I can surpass what he did."

Harrison took Brentwood to the state finals. Last year, as a freshman, Wright delivered the first state championship in the history of the school and was the MVP of the tournament. Tuesday night, in the first game of his sophomore year he set the tone with 17 points, 12 blocks and 9 rebounds.

The talented sophomore isn't navigating the big time waters without a guide. Esteemed high school coach George Pitts, a big time winner in the state of Tennessee, took over at Brentwood three years ago.

Pitts stresses the fundamentals. He's big into discipline, teaching and learning by his players. A guy like Wright is fortunate to have that kind of basketball knowledge at his disposal. His hoops education in the fundamentals and intricacies of the game will lay a tremendous base for him as he ascends up the basketball levels.

"I knew [Coach Pitts] was the best coach ever in Tennessee," Wright said. "I heard he led Science Hill [Pitt's previous school] to back-to-back state championships."

Wright isn't thinking back-to-back, he's thinking about getting four straight. There's a buzz at the school about its hoops program and while some of the kids admitted to football being the flagship sport at Brentwood, Wright and a young group of core players has a chance to tip the scales in basketball's favor.

Last summer, Wright took his show on the road to the Nike All-American Camp where he was a standout underclassman. Now, on the national level, his reputation is that of an elite player in the Class of 2006. So elite that head coaches are already filing in to see him.

During the early period this year, guys like Indiana's Mike Davis, Tennessee's Buzz Peterson and Michigan's Tommy Amaker were in the house. Vanderbilt, whose campus is no more than 15 minutes from Brentwood's, is putting the press on as well. The Commodores were the lone school at his first game this year.

Notre Dame, UCLA and Alabama each sent assistants in September. Its way too early for a list of schools on this young man but understand this: he'll have his pick of programs. North Carolina, Duke, Indiana, Michigan State and Kentucky – no surprises there – are a few of the programs he dreamed of lacing them up at. He's already been on the campuses of Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Michigan.

There should be plenty of programs in the stands later in the year when Brentwood takes on Giles County which features coveted junior small forward Tyler Smith. That game will go a long way in Wright's plans to transform Brentwood into a hoops powerhouse.

After all, there's only one 6-9 star sophomore on campus and he's not trading in his sneakers for a helmet and shoulder pads anytime soon.

Brentwood Bonus

Joshua Bone, a guard from the Class of 2006, is also going to be a player at Brentwood. He's got range beyond the arc and a nice looking stroke. … Chris Slay, a junior, is the brother of former Tennessee standout Ron Slay and he's on the roster as well. … Brian Wright is a 6-3 freshman and the brother of Brandon. … Special thanks to managers Nathan Ring and Jeremy Dupree along with injured guard Bruce Little. Each provided valuable insight during the practice session. …

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