Wright Is Ready For The End

At this point there is light at the end of the tunnel for one of the nation's top overall prospects. After nearly two years of fielding phone calls, competing over the summer, and traveling all over the country, Brandan Wright will be able to sit down and start the decision making process on Sunday night. On Wednesday evening he sat down with TDD to provide an update and to reminisce over what he's seen so far.

"I'm glad it's coming to an end," says 6'10, 205lbs Nashville prep Brandan Wright. "The recruiting process is a lot for a young teenager to handle. You get hit with so much, so fast that you really have to work to keep a clear head and not get discouraged. But I've learned a lot and I've really learned to be patient as I've gone through this."

While many recruits lament the recruiting process' many phone calls, visits, and other hassles, Wright says that he viewed it a different way, and had some advantages for which he is very grateful.

"My mom set some rules for everyone involved early on and that has made it a lot easier than it could have been. It's not out of control crazy like I've seen from some other guys. And she's helped me get through it pretty well. It's just so much information you have to process from so many places. It's about doing this the right way and that's what she's helping me do."

Doing it the right way for the Wrights has meant keeping everything very close to the vest. For starters, Brandan doesn't do regular media interviews, which has led to rampant speculation surrounding his recruitment every since it started to gain steam earlier this year.

"The rumors are just rumors. I get asked about a lot of them and just laugh most of them off. It goes with the territory, but that's one thing I've learned to be patient with. Sometimes people say things that are their opinion, and you may not agree with it but it's their opinion."

For instance there had been rumors circulating that Wright would not be visiting North Carolina this weekend after the Tar Heels earned commitments from a pair of post players – another rumor shot down by Wright.

"That's just not true. I'm going to visit North Carolina just like the others. I want to see what they have to offer. I want to see what they say as far as everything goes. They've shown a lot of interest to this point and I'm going to hear them out."

And once he returns from Chapel Hill on Sunday, Wright will begin the process of putting an end to his recruitment as he and his family sit down and begin making a list of notes on each of his visits. For the longest time Wright has maintained that each school is equal in his mind. However, he did admit that he's going to be doing a lot of comparing this weekend.

"That's part of the process. I mean I know what Duke, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt have to offer. And I'll look at the strengths and weaknesses of North Carolina this weekend and see how they stack up. Some are stronger in places that others are weaker. But no one has any less of a shot than others, but I guess you could say that some have strong points."

Speaking of those three visits, what were his general impressions of his trips to Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Duke?

"My first trip was a lot of fun to Kentucky. The football game was just great. They played against Louisville and the team got together for a tailgate. It was a real family atmosphere there. I liked the living arrangements too. The players live away from the rest of the students in Wildcat Lodge. That was fun to see."

"Vanderbilt was comfortable because it's home. I mean I know the city of Nashville from top to bottom. We all went to Coach Stallings' house and he had some kind of magician come in to entertain us. It was really fun. People don't know just how funny he really is."

"At Duke I was amazed at just how much of a family atmosphere they have. When I was there Chris Duhon and Shane Battier were there talking to different people. They gave the team words of encouragement and I got a chance to meet both. We talked about playing hard and they told me how Coach K helped them grow as a person. It was fun to see and hear, and I was thinking it would be nice to be involved in that kind of thing one day."

One thing being a high major recruit gets you is the ability to meet some of the nation's best coaches in a way that many fans will never see.

"Oh yeah, that's been my favorite part about this whole deal. I've gotten to meet some of the best coaches in the world. All of them are great and all of them are very honest with me. All of them have told me the truth about anything I've asked."

So what were some of Brandan's impressions of Coach Smith, Coach Stallings, and Coach K?

"With Coach Smith, he's not the guy you see on the bench. There he's really focused on the game and is in the heat of the moment. Away from the game he's a real caring man. He's very much a family man. While I was there we went to his house for a cookout and all that really came through."

"Coach Stallings is a jokester. He's always smiling and laughing. His son plays on our basketball team so I've gotten a chance to know him over the last three years. He's a great person."

And Coach K?

"That's a little bit harder," said Wright. "I guess the first thing people would be surprised to know is just how much he smiles off the court. He really does enjoy what he's doing. He's just a brilliant man, maybe the smartest person I've ever met. He's been through a lot. When you think of the great coaches in the game, he's pretty much the guy you start with. When I was there I really saw how much he cares about the people, and just isn't in this for himself. He talks all the time about being doing things the correct and right way, and how it's important to be prepared for everything. He isn't your average person."

Given his talent level and ability, Wright figures to make only a cursory stop at the college level before heading off to the NBA. And while he declines to speculate on how long he'll be in college, most analysts assume it won't be very long. With that in mind, how much of a role does national exposure play for Brandan?

"I don't think it's that much of a factor. I mean we all know that Duke is on television the most. Then Kentucky and North Carolina. Vanderbilt isn't on as much, but if I went there it wouldn't hurt me getting exposure. If you're a good player then you'll get your exposure. I don't see too many good players falling through the cracks."

Which is why all four programs continue to talk to him on a daily basis.

"I think college coaches can call whenever they want if you're a senior now. I was talking to Coach Dawkins yesterday, and then Coach Robinson called tonight. I talked to Coach Stallings the other day as well. Basically it's every day and I'm on the phone with one of them."

By this point there can't be too much that the coaches can say regarding basketball, can there?

"No, the basketball stuff has been taken care of. Now we're just talking about everything else. It's about getting to know one another."

While personal relationships will play an important role for Brandan when the decision making process begins on Sunday, he's also going to make basketball a big part of his choice. As our conversation continued, Wright offered some thoughts on various factors, and then some insight on which schools have begun to stand out.

"As far as preparing me for the next level, if I had to pick one coach that I think will do that the best, I'd say that's Coach K. Like I said, he's just a brilliant man. He sees the game from so many angles and can show you so many things that you wouldn't think about. His knowledge was amazing."

"If I had to tell you which school I was the most comfortable with off the court that's Vandy – they are 15 minutes from my house. I know the city, and I've grown up watching their players – they are all local guys."

"I can't really say which was the best overall yet, because that'll be which one I commit to."

And if Brandan had to pick his favorite memory to relate to someone just beginning the recruiting process, as his best story from the experience, what would he pick?

"That's a tough one. But I'd have to say it was sitting with Coach K at his house watching highlight clips of Shane Battier, Jason Williams, and Wojo. Coach got teary-eyed watching it, and I did too a little. He just has such a passion and love for his players. That was one of the best moments of the process for me, because that's something not everyone gets to see."

And if Brandan was giving a young player, just starting the recruiting process, advice; what would it be?

"When you're starting the process make some rules and stick to them. The main thing would be to try and return phone calls to people as fast as you can. Sometimes when you wait that gives the wrong impression. The downside of it is that you're going to get hounded a lot. Coaches will call all the time; the media will call. I mean it's July and you're getting calls all day long, and hounded wherever you go. You just have to learn to be patient and be polite, and to just deal with it as best you can. It can get rough, but it's been a great learning experience for me as a player and a person."

Wright is rated as the No. 5 overall prospect in the country and the best power forward according to Scout.com's Dave Telep.

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