Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Brandan Wright enjoyed playing for Roy Williams and knew North Carolina could contend for a national championship next season. He just couldn't pass on the chance to take care of his family by entering the NBA draft while Roy Williams scored some points with future “one and done” recruits by endorsing his decision.

"I was definitely torn in my decision," the freshman said Monday during a news conference. "There are so many positives and negatives in me entering the draft. But I feel like the positives outweigh the negatives."

Wright becomes the 15th player to leave the program early for the NBA draft, joining notable names like James Worthy, Michael Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse and Vince Carter. But unlike two years ago -- when the Tar Heels lost four underclassmen after winning the national championship -- North Carolina is losing just one.

How to fill the gap left by Wright – Here’s what they are saying at AOL ACC Fanhouse.

DEON THOMPSON: Thompson will most likely step into the starting role next to Hansbrough. Thompson showed flashes of a player who could have a nice career in Chapel Hill. Now he'll get starter's minutes and a platform to vault himself into the national spotlight.
ALEX STEPHENSON: Thompson was an offensive force off the bench last year. Stephenson was the defensive guy. Stephenson was known in high school as a premiere rebounder which should get him some good minutes this year. He's pretty handy around the basket but didn't show that he make his own play to get a shot off.
TY LAWSON: With no Wright or the graduating Reyshawn Terry, Lawson will be asked to score a bit more.
WILLIAM GRAVES: People forget that Graves was part of that outstanding freshman recruiting class. However, Graves elected to redshirt last year despite being a guy that could've been in the rotation. UNC brings no one in this year, so Graves will be able to fill in down low.
SENIOR CLASS OF 2008: With Wright officially gone, the Tar Heels know that they have a front line opening in the 2008-2009 season [especially if Hansbrough leaves next year]. Just as Wright came in for a one and done, so could kids like Greg Monroe, Ed Davis, Al-Farouq Aminu, Samardo Samuels or Drew Gordon who'd love to come in and play right away in Chapel Hill.

OK, we actually learned something. We didn’t know about secret weapon red shirt Graves lurking in the shadows. That Roy Williams, he’s clever.

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