Brady says Bright "every-day worker"

As a high school senior, Torris Bright averaged 33.3 points per game as Slidell High School's shooting guard.<br><br>After three years as LSU's point guard — during which he averaged 11.4 points per game — Bright may be in position to move back to his old spot for his senior year of college.

Bright enters the 2002-03 season as a fourth-year starter at point guard. He sizzled late in the year last season, scoring in double digits in 12 of the Tigers' final 13 games, including 43 points in LSU's two NIT games to end the season. He has started at point in 96 of his 97 career games and is already in the top ten of career minutes played.

 

"The difference this year is expectations," said Bright of this season as compared to his previous three. "The expectations this year are higher than they've ever been. Now we have to live up to our expectations."

 

The Tigers have a full roster of 13 scholarship players and are extremely deep at guard. A possible scenario could have junior Courtney Trask, 6-foot-3 transfer from Memphis who is a true point guard, handle the ball and allow Bright to transition to No. 2.

 

"Bright would start (at point guard) today," LSU coach John Brady said. "What would change that? Coutney Trask may have something to do with that changing. Maybe Tony Gipson, maybe Darrel Mitchell may have something to do with (Bright's) role changing. Ask me in about four of five weeks and I'll be able to give you a better handle on it, because we (would have) practiced. They will have to settle that, with what they do or don't do in practice."

 

Although Bright may have a firm grip on the starting job as of now, any complacency on his part may see him watching the game for more minutes that he plays. The full roster and depth of talent at guard caused the pre-practice pick-up sessions to be extremely heated and competitive.

 

"It's affected most of us because everybody on the team is thinking about fighting for their position," Bright said. "Everybody is going to practice as hard as they can practice and play as hard as they can play because everybody wants to play. The personnel is there this year, but we're going to have to wait until game time to see what's going to happen."

 

"The strength of our team is in the perimeter," Brady said. "There is no question in my mind about that. Our post players are pretty good, too, but I think from a depth and experience standpoint, guard is the strength of our team.

 

"That's very positive. I don't think anybody's ever won a significant amount of games that didn't have quality guard play."

 

Along with fellow senior Ronald Dupree, Bright was the only Tiger to start all 34 games last season, averaging 31.4 minutes per game. His 13.4 points per contest tied him at second-best on the team.

 

"I like Torris Bright," Brady said. "He may be the best practice player we've had here. He comes to work every single day. You've got to appreciate a guy like that."

 

Bright said that he would gladly fill the role as a shooting guard if called upon but is ready to step back into his familiar job of calling the Tigers' plays from the backcourt.

 

"My main concern is to get everybody the ball, and more importantly to just win," he said. "If we can win the majority of our games, then I'll have accomplished my job."

 

Again, the depth and talent of the finally full Tiger roster pervades the thoughts and expectations of the entire LSU squad, and Bright relishes the thought of quality backups coming off the bench to spell him during games.

 

"It takes a lot of the pressure off the guys that have been here," Bright said of the availability of good bench players. "It helps us knowing that we have somebody that can come in with a good amount of talent to play to the best of their ability."

 

Like the rest of his team and coaching staff, Bright sees great improvement for his team over last year's respectable NIT appearance.

"I think that if we stay together and play together and everybody stays healthy, we have a chance to make a strong run in the NCAA tournament."


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