Photos: Wright's NBA Announcement
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Listen to Audio Part II (9:11)
Listen to Audio Part III (9:14)
Brandan Wright's Opening Statement:
After a lot of consideration and weighing my options, I've decided to enter the 2007 NBA Draft. The reason why I came to Carolina was to get an excellent education along with the great athletic program and I do intend to come back and earn my degree. I'm giving up my academic eligibility but not my academic career. ... I think I really fit the system well [at UNC] and I'd like to credit my teammates and the coaching staff for how I played this year. [Playing here] was great for me because it's more of a pro style type game and it'll real help benefit me playing at the next level. And I'd like to credit my teammates and coaches for the way they helped me out this year.
Roy Williams' Opening Statement:
I visited with several NBA teams and came up with the scenario of where we thought Brandan would be drafted and gave him the salary scale for each of those positions -- and then stepped back and told him we'd support him in anything he did. I think bottom line it came down to being able to take care of his family financially that he is not able to do at this time. ...
Wright: Like coach said, I was definitely torn in my decision and focused on the positives and the negatives -- and I felt the positives outweighed to the negatives, especially when it comes to taking care of your family especially at a young age like this is hard to pass up.
Coach Williams, where do you think Wright will be drafted?
Williams: I think he’s definitely a top ten pick. I think he’ll definitely be a top three-, four- or five-pick in the draft. I don’t think there is any way you can bypass him until six or seven.
What is the hardest part about leaving UNC?
Wright: The hardest thing for me is leaving my teammates, knowing we had a great season this year, and those guys are going to have a great season next year. Just leaving those guys, that's the hardest thing.
On his mother's influence on his decision -
Wright: Honestly, she had no opinion at all. She totally left the decision up to me. She didn't push me to leave or stay or anything like that. My family didn't do anything like that either. Like coach, he pretty much put it on my shoulders, and I had to make a decision and a tough decision at that.
Williams: Brandan gave me a great compliment because he said she was saying the same things I was telling him to do. So I took that as a great compliment.
On hiring an agent -
Wright: Not currently; I don’t plan on hiring an agent. I’m going to meet with a few agents to get some information, but an agent is really no good to me right now.
Williams: I think the decision is 99.99 (percent) that this is what he’s going to do. It’s not that he’s trying to get more research or anything like that. The nature of the business now is underclassmen cannot go and do individual workouts, which they’ve been able to do in the past. We are going to talk to some agents to get some more information. But he’s not rushing out the door to sign with an agent to get a new moped.
Which was tougher, deciding to go to UNC or deciding to leave?
Wright: Definitely leaving. Coming is a celebration and so is leaving. I'm leaving a lot of people behind.
Is the change of the NBA rules structure changed the way you talk to athletes about this decision?
Williams: It's definitely changed over the years, because they've changed the rules several times. But let's get something straight, the NBA is not our partner. They can act like it is all they want to, but they view college basketball as competition. Every rule they make is best for them. They don't make rules for the good of the kid -- I mean give me a break. The rule that they changed where everybody goes to college for one year...that enables them to evaluate Brandan Wright against great competition. So they'll make better evaluations. They don't have to evaluate Brandan Wright playing against five 5-11 guys surrounding him in the post like he had to a couple of games in high school. When they made those evaluations in the past, they could make some decisions that weren't the best in the world. It would have been a better scenario for the kids to go (to college) for two or three years, because the only negative is maturing, getting physically stronger and building his body up, which you can do in college. But the NBA drafts on potential. Every rule they make is best for the NBA -- let's make sure we understand that. It does change us; I've got several players I've talked to about it this year about going to the NBA. Bottom line it comes down to financial issues. I've never had a player tell me they like the NBA better than college except on the first and the fifteenth. That's the only way. I'll bet after a year, Brandan Wright will come back and say, 'Wow, it wasn't as much fun as playing in college.'
On what he brings to the NBA -
Wright: Personally, I feel like I can come into a team and do a lot of good things. I can offer a team a different dimension that they didn't have a year before. I'm going to work hard this offseason to get ready for the rigors of an 82-game season. I'm just going to get ready for the physical game. I feel like I'll be ready next year, and it will be fine.