Wright is only UNC underclassman this season to go pro

Updated: May 16, 2007, 7:41 PM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina forward Brandan Wright signed with an agent and will remain in the NBA draft.

Brandan Wright
Wright

The Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year will be represented by Jim Tanner of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Williams and Connolly.

"I think Brandan is obviously a tremendous talent, and he's got the potential to be a great NBA player," Tanner said Wednesday.

It isn't a surprise that Wright will remain in the draft -- coach Roy Williams said last month that he was 99.99 percent sure the 6-foot-9 forward wouldn't return to campus next season, even though Wright left open the possibility by not initially hiring an agent.

"I felt comfortable with Jim and the Williams and Connolly team from the start, and I am confident that they will help me achieve my career goals," Wright said.

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Wright's 7-foot-4 wingspan and deft shooting touch make him an attractive pro prospect. Several online drafts project him as a top-five pick. According to the NBA's sliding rookie salary scale, the fifth pick in this year's draft will receive a guaranteed three-year contract worth $7.9 million.

Wright was the only Tar Heels underclassman this season to turn pro, and he became just the 15th player in school history to leave Chapel Hill early, joining a group that includes Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Vince Carter.

The lanky forward ranked second on the team with 14.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He led the ACC and set a freshman record by shooting 64.6 percent.

Wright became the third straight Tar Heel to win the top honor for ACC rookies, and he was the MVP of the conference tournament North Carolina won for the first time in nine years.

Teammates Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington previously said they would return for at least one more season, placing North Carolina among the favorites next season to contend for both ACC and national titles. The Tar Heels finished 31-7 and lost to Georgetown in the East Regional finals of the NCAA tournament.

Wright is the latest player from a Tobacco Road school to sign on with Tanner, a 1990 North Carolina graduate. His clients also include Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), Grant Hill and Shane Battier (Duke) and Marvin Williams (North Carolina).


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press