Penn Senior Rates Brandan Wright

The New York Times enlisted the help of former Penn basketball player Steve Danley to evaluate some of the draft picks ahead of the NBA Draft on Thursday. Here is what he had to say about Brandan Wright:

BRANDAN WRIGHT, FORWARD, NORTH CAROLINA Forecasting Wright’s career is a tough call. He has the talent to be good. When I guarded him in a game in Chapel Hill, he displayed great touch around the basket and an effective spin move, and he dropped in hook shots like a kid tossing pennies in a wishing well.

Here’s the catch. People are rating him the third-best player in the draft. But when we played North Carolina, we considered him the third-biggest threat on the team. We were more worried about Ty Lawson and Tyler Hansbrough. Wright is an awful shooter and ball handler. We didn’t bother to chase him outside eight feet, allowing his defender to play off him and sag into the lane.

It’s not that I don’t think he’ll be a contributor down the road for somebody. It’s just that in this draft, a top-five pick has to be better than a complementary player.

Yeah, how did that work out for you? UNC beat Penn by 38 in Chapel Hill. As it turns out the mistake Penn made was not considering Reyshawn Terry a threat since he lit the Quakers up for 19 points and nine rebounds in only 16 minutes of playing time. Lawson, who was rated as either Threat #1 or #2, actually turned out to be a non-factor according to the box score. Hansbrough had 19 and Wayne Ellington had 17 while Wright had 12. In other words I am not sure how much you can knock a player down in the draft based on how he may have fit into the Penn game plan in a match-up they lost by nearly 40 points. I would consider Lawson the #1 threat on the team in a college basketball game because he is the lynch pin to the whole UNC offense but I am not sure that necessarily makes him a better than Wright when talking about NBA prospects. I would also point out that the game in question happened in early January. I think we saw plenty from Wright during the next three months to understand how good he is. The biggest knock on Wright is his strength, which was a problem at times(see Michigan State) and his effort on the court(which I thought was 100 times better than by season’s end.)

I do not disagree with the overall premise that Wright may not be a top five pick.’s Chad Ford had him as low as #10 yesterday which means Wright may have made a mistake in coming out this season. I think this situation serves as further evidence that for all the information UNC gathers on behalf of Wright, he still makes a decision without knowing some key facts. And while he could have gone through the process without an agent and withdrawn last week, I would think it is harder for him to get a true read on his status unless he shows himself to be in the draft for good by hiring an agent. If Wright was projected #10 back in May, I think he comes back to Chapel Hill. The problem was during that period he was being shown at #3 based on a projection which could not account for the draft order or other factors. So on the basis he throws his hat into the ring even though everything could change withing six weeks. I hope the prognosticators are wrong and Wright goes top five. However, I still think the process should be changed to allow these players to get as much information as possible before making their decision final.


14 Responses to Penn Senior Rates Brandan Wright

  1. 52BigGameJames says:

    I hope so too THF–imagine the quandary it puts Coaches like Roy Williams in–I think he was expressing a little of that frustration when he referenced the NBA’s self-interest. I admit to being a little dumbfounded by some of the (otherwise intelligent) opinions expressed on this site regarding the conviction that Wright should go after his freshman year, as if it were a foregone conclusion. Hopefully Wright won’t end up being the “poster-boy” for the winds-of-change concerning early entry. A shame IMO to follow up a sound decision (UNC/Roy), with a questionable one.

  2. […] 12:12 pm | In Jackie Manuel | Reyshawn confidant he will be drafted. ACC projections. Brandon is liked. John Hollinger attempts to quantify college stats into a draft prospectus of sorts. It’s an […]

  3. Tar Heel Fan says:

    I am not sure people were acting as if it was a foregone conclusion but rather a decision based on the best information at the time which as it turns out is not really all that good info. That is my biggest complaint is the deadline is set prior to the lottery which means a decision has to be made without even know who will have the top picks. To me that is a key piece of info along with all the other feedback they get along the way.

  4. Chris says:

    I agree with the point that players would be better served by having as much information as possible prior to committing. Given Brandan’s situation this year, I think he made the right move, given what he knew at the time. Dropping down to 5 or 6 and ending up with the Bucks is not the end of the world. There is no guarantee that next year he would be any higher. As I’ve said before, he would still be playing on the same team (personel-wise) and would be doing essentially the same things that he did on the court this year. If he stayed, he presumably would be bulkier and stronger. Otherwise, he would still have the same role on the team. as nobody else significant is leaving…….he won’t be handling the ball, won’t be shooting shots any longer than he did this year, etc. and he does run the risk of injury. At least the top two players chosen this year will be freshman, who’s to say that the same thing won’t happen next year with a new group of talent coming in? Easy to say what you would do with someone else’s life, but a 5 or 6 pick in the NBA draft is nothing to sneeze at, given all the variables that can occur in a year’s time.

  5. Chris says:

    …….and the Penn senior playing with Brandan in a single game has about as much credibility as Coach K driving around 2 years ago in one of those stupid looking Chevy car trucks on the commericals during the playoffs……….

  6. 52BigGameJames says:

    well, I can see we’re splitting hairs here. this could turn out to be nothing more than a “whew” moment, or it could end up being a colossal career mistake. I stand by my previous statement that (at least for another year) he needed UNC more than vice-versa. Thompson will be more than an adequate replacement.

  7. Chris says:

    No way that one more year at Carolina would affect his ultimate career in the NBA and prevent a “colossal career mistake.”

  8. Tar Heel Fan says:


    I am not so sure about that just because there are times when things snowball from a certain point. I think he could have benefited from another season but at the time he decided to come out based on incomplete information. Another year may have locked him for top three. In fact had he gone through the process and then come back he would know the things he needs to work on and been better next season.

  9. Chris says:

    My point is that being in the top three is not the Holy Grail. Look back on the history of the draft and you’ll see that it isn’t. Ultimately the player’s basketball talent and ability to play against other NBA players determines what the players career will be like. Check out a player like Carlos Boozer……who would have ever guessed that he’d have a 60 million dollar contract now and be an all-star type player. Brandon Wright’s ultimate NBA career will depend upon his long term ability to play well against other NBA players, and that will not be affected by one more year at Carolina or whether he is drafted 3, 5, 6, or 10.

  10. 52BigGameJames says:

    my point exactly THF. I have seen most list him as 7 or better, so I think he’ll do ok, but the fact that some have predicted lower is to my mind a little dis-concerting in and of itself. If he gets part of the top-5 pay-off, he’ll be fine, but what if he slips down, and loses bargaining leverage? He could find himself (unlikely I admit) in the position of having to prove himself in a shorter amount of time. That his stock has slipped some from initial projections indicates that some feel he’s not ready yet, and based on his inconsistency in college, what in the world makes you think he can get it done in the NBA, should he somehow find himself unlucky enough to be “on-the-clock”? You’re right Chris that Boozer was a surprise, but in fact he earned his way to that 60 mil. As you’ve intimated before, Brandon is being sucked in on “potential”. That equation works out fine for the “lottery-leveraged”, but can backfire on the “lottery-margined”. And I agree with THF that another year would’ve given him a very good chance at top 3.

  11. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Then again it was supposedly not about the money so he should happy as long as he lands in a good situation for him right?

  12. 52BigGameJames says:

    you mean where they care about him as a person, and will be patient with his development, and shield him from the pressure? sort of like UNC, lol? Bobcats might be ideal.

  13. Tar Heel Fan says:

    It was a joke in reference to the fact that all these guys who come out early always say it is not about the money but about fulfilling a dream of playing in the NBA. If that is truly the case(and who knows it might be for Wright) then it does not matter per se where he ends up as long as it is a good fit.

    BTW, Chad Ford is projecting Wright for Charlotte.

  14. 52BigGameJames says:

    I knew you were joking–I think you & others pegged Wright’s home situation as being the motivating factor. If he ends up w/Bobcats, that is almost like Carolina family & should be a good situation for him. I also think Memphis or Utah (although unlikely) could work. Regardless, the end result is that should this kind of situation come up again in the near future, it will give Roy a needed reference point. Just my opinion, but let the Tim Floyd’s/Calipari’s have these type of situations. If you’re smart enough to select UNC & Roy in the first place, then be smart enough to maximize the benefits of same! This wasn’t a “McAdoo/Worthy or Jordan” type of situation or even like 05. Closer in fact imo to Forte…not the same but closer by degree.

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