Mom Knows Best For Brandan Wright

When the recruiting process started nearly two full seasons ago, Pamika Wright knew she'd have to lay down ground rules for all involved. From all the big time programs who would certainly come calling, to the media outlets and beyond – Mrs. Wright knew that if she didn't take control things could get out of hand. Now, at the end of her son's recruitment, this mother is glad she did. On Wednesday night she sat down with TDD to discuss her family's journey through the recruiting process.

"On the whole I'd say this has been a very positive experience from my son and my family," says the mother of 6'10, 205lbs Nashville prep star Brandan Wright. "Throughout it all we've stayed focused and tried not to get caught up in everything it can bring. Still, I'm glad it's almost over – it's getting tiring."

Tiring may be a bit of an understatement as her son has seen his stock rise to superstar levels over the last year and a half, which has led them on a tour of nearly every high major program in the country. And now, there is just one more trip to make before it comes time to make a decision. And, yes, that trip is going to happen despite rumors to the contrary.

"We are going to take the visit to North Carolina this weekend," said Tamiko Wright. "They did just get two players, and we haven't really discussed that yet. But we are going to proceed with the visit all the same. I'm sure there have been rumors out there."

Rumors are nothing new to the Wrights; in fact they go with the territory of being a high major recruit. However, after all this time of dealing with the recruiting process, the Wrights have learned to take the good with the bad.

"We hear [rumors] all the time, but they don't really bother us. Now, if it's something derogatory then that is something that has to be corrected. But aside from that we don't get too caught up in it."

"The main thing for Brandan is to keep his head on straight and not get caught up with all the glitz and glamour that comes with where he is. He knows that basketball is an extra curricular activity and that his first priority is to get an education. I'm very proud of the way he's handled himself. I think that's why the kids on the court like him so much. They know that when he comes off the court he's still just Brandan. He's not like some other kids with an inflated ego, he's just Brandan."

Still being "just Brandan" was good enough to set a huge recruiting whirlwind in motion, so Mrs. Wright set down ground rules in the beginning and stuck to her guns.

"We've tried to limit the amount of media interviews we do as well as the amount of time we focus on this as a family. It's a very positive experience for you, but you have to have some ground rules. As a parent, you don't want to let it consume you. As long as you stay positive with it and stick to your principles, and have some control, it can be a great way to prepare a young man for the future."

And the future is coming soon for Brandan. After taking his visit to Chapel Hill over the weekend, the Wrights will come home and begin mapping out the last leg of their journey in hopes of reaching a decision.

"I think we'll come home and start making a list of all our notes. This is a decision that he has to be secure with. I think he's looking for a comfort zone when it comes down to it. I think when he leaves a visit he has an idea of what his true feelings are. Sometimes he's had that feeling twice, and that's what we'll have to sit down and talk about."

One factor that won't play a big role in Brandan's decision as far as his mother is concerned is distance.

"Distance is not important for us. We don't want him to miss out on a wonderful experience because of that. If the place for him is 10 miles or 10,000 miles away then that's where he should be. So if he chooses Duke, or Vanderbilt, or Kentucky, or even North Carolina, we're going to be at his games and we're going to cheer on the team. For us it's about which program will help him grown as a person and as a player."

To help her son take notes and to get a feel for each of the programs on his list, Mrs. Wright has accompanied her son on each of his official visits to date and will do the same this weekend. So what are her impressions of each school she's seen?

"Our first visit to Kentucky was very good. They have a lot of tradition and Coach Smith is a very warm and considerate man. The whole time it was very family oriented, and he's got a real love of the game. You could really see that. "

"Vanderbilt was very comfortable as well because we were home. It's barely 15 minutes up the street. I was really interested to learn more about it even though it was the hometown school. Coach Stallings and his staff are very genuine and quite funny as well. They have a very good rapport with the families and players, and that was good to see."

"Our visit to Duke was just overwhelming. Learning about the campus, and the school was a great experience for us. Coach K is such an intense person, but it's in a very loving and supportive way. He really cares for his players and it's like a family there. They are a real powerhouse and it was everything I expected and more."

If anything the three visits have solidified a few things in the matriarch's mind in regards to her son's immediate future.

"All of these coaches are dedicated to their players and it shows. That's important because they are going to be taking care of these players who are leaving home to play basketball and grow. I'd be comfortable with any one of them right now."

And what kind of person will the coach that Brandan ultimately picks be getting from a mom's perspective?

"He's a really laid back, fun loving kid who is very family oriented. I'm very proud of him."



Note: Check back tomorrow for our interview with Brandan in which the 6'10 big forward touches on recruiting, his timetable, and some of his most memorable moments from being a high major recruit at some of the most elite programs in the country.

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