Sunday, April 22, 2007
Updated: April 23, 6:28 PM ET
UNC forward Wright could decide on NBA soon
By Andy Katz
North Carolina freshman forward Brandan Wright is conflicted about whether or not he should enter the NBA draft, but a decision should be announced by Monday or Tuesday, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said Sunday.
Williams, reached while recruiting in Houston, said Wright and he met Friday and were planning on meeting Sunday night upon his return to Chapel Hill and again Monday before an official announcement comes from the school. Williams told Wright to spend the weekend thinking about his decision.
The 6-foot-9 Wright, who averaged a second-best 14.7 points and 6.2 boards for the ACC champs, is projected to go as high as No. 3 in the June 28 draft.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare is April 29. If Wright declares, he's expected to stay in the draft and sign with an agent. Underclassmen have until June 18 to withdraw, as long as they don't sign with an agent.
"He really wants to stay but he also knows he would be drafted high," Williams said. "I want to make sure he doesn't do something foolish. I told him to tell me what he wants to do and I'll support him.
"Deep down I think he wants to stay, but I don't want him to do something dumb," Williams said. "I go back and forth as to what he wants to do."
Williams said he has heard that Wright could go in the 3-5 range, but if he were to return, Williams said he thinks Wright could be No. 1 in 2008.
Wright apparently is the only Tar Heel that could bolt. Sophomore forward Tyler Hansbrough and freshman guard Ty Lawson said after the team's banquet that they would return next season. If Wright were to leave, the Tar Heels would be covered inside with Alex Stepheson and Deon Thompson, both capable of filling Wright's role next to Hansbrough.
The Tar Heels are already set in the backcourt with the return of Lawson and Wayne Ellington and backups Marcus Ginyard, Bobby Frasor, Danny Green and Quentin Thomas. The only seniors on the team this past season were Reyshawn Terry and Wes Miller.
"I think we'll still be good," said Williams of a team without Wright. "If he decides to go, it would be a great thing for him financially. If he decides to stay, we legitimately have a chance to win the whole thing. We still have good players. He came on strong [late in the season]."
Wright scored 20 points in the ACC tourney semifinal win over Boston College and 21 in the Sweet 16 win over USC in two of his best postseason games.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.