Inside Carolina's Recruiting Insider Zeke Martins reports that UNC has entered the recruiting race for rising senior Antione (pronounced "An-twan") Wright, a 6-7, 195-pound wing forward.
Wright, a native of San Bernardino, Calif., earned high marks at the Adidas ABCD Camp two weeks ago and was named to the camp's All-Star Game, in which he scored 16 points.
Rob Matera, of the All Star Report, ranked Wright the No. 3 wing forward at the camp, behind elite prospects Lenny Cooke and Carmelo Anthony. PrepStars.com's Brick Oettinger wrote that Wright was the camp's 11th best player overall.
Wright is not easily found on pre-summer Top 50 rankings by recruiting analysts, but after this summer, that's certain to change. The ESPN.com rankings, put together by two West Coast writers, has Wright ranked at No. 5 -- in the country.
While he's from California, Wright attends Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts and is now fully qualified for college. He averaged 27 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and 3.7 blocks last season.
The Tar Heel staff began scouting him this month, watching his impressive performance at the ABCD Camp and then seeing him earn All-Tournament Team honors a week later at the Three Stripes tourney, playing for the Inland AAU squad.
Apparently, they liked what they saw.
A Carolina assistant coach has already been in contact with Wright and made a very favorable impression (see interview below).
College coaches across the country are raving about Wright, as evidenced by the two following anonymous quotes from assistants published at ESPN.com earlier this month.
"He's the most underrated player in the country," said a Pac-Ten assistant. "Some of those experts don't even have him in the Top 100, but he's really, really good. He's definitely a Top 25 player without blinking an eye. I think he's a Top 10 talent."
"He shoots the lights out, he doesn't miss," an assistant from the Big 12 said. "Antione is really athletic, he's got major skills and he comes to play. He's really aggressive on the board - he gets a lot of tip jams. [He's] special, he's one of the best players in the country - he's such a good kid, too. I love recruiting a kid like him, he's got a great personality."
Inside Carolina's Recruiting Analyst Clint Jackson spoke with Wright, from his home in San Bernardino, this afternoon. Here are some excerpts from the interview . . .
CJ - What things do you excel at on the court, or, what do you feel gives you an advantage over some of the other prospects out there?
Wright - I think that definitely being able to create opportunities at my height (6-7), handle the ball at my height and shoot like I can -- that helps me out a lot. Plus I like to play defense and work hard.
CJ - How does the sudden rush of attention on the national level feel to you?
Wright - It feels a little weird. Because it came all of a sudden. But I'm getting pretty used to it. The one good thing is that I got to work hard while a lot of the other kids with the media exposure were getting all of the glory.
CJ - I understand that North Carolina has made contact recently. How does that affect you?
Wright - North Carolina is a great school with a good program. They have a lot of good players and they also have a lot of good players coming in. They are now high on my list.
CJ - Speaking of that list, I have gathered a top five list from other sources that Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, UConn and Texas are your top five. Is that list valid?
Wright - It was, until Carolina called -- but now it goes like this: North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona and Texas A&M.
CJ - Do you feel that any of those schools have an advantage?
Wright - I think North Carolina would have to be the leader right now.
CJ - Have you received an offer from Carolina?
Wright - I don't know, they told me that they were going to be recruiting me and following me the rest of the summer and that they had some other guys that they were recruiting -- some big guys. I have talked to Coach Q and he said that I had an advantage because Coach Doherty had actually seen me play and that he was really impressed with me.
(Thanks to Tracy Pierson of Prep West Hoops for the photo.)