The first question that comes to mind when discussing Antoine Wright, the shooting guard out of Texas A&M, is, "How good of a player could someone from Texas A&M actually be?"
This is, after all, a school more famous for producing pulling guards than slashing guards.
"He's a special one," A&M coach Billy Gillispie said.
The 6-foot-7 Wright hails from San Bernardino, Calif., and he originally headed to College Station instead of a host of national powers to play for ex-Aggie coach Melvin Watkins, who had tight recruiting ties with Wright's summer team coach.
Wright couldn't save Watkins' job (Watkins was fired two years ago), but he did develop into everything everyone thought he would be. This is a big, physical yet fast scoring machine. He averaged 17.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 50.1 percent form the floor. He was named first-team All-Big 12.
He accomplished all that despite a heavy dose of double- and triple-teams.
"He has the ability to fight through all sorts of junk defenses and score," an Eastern Conference player personnel director said. "There is no doubt he will be a high scorer in the NBA. No doubt at all."
Maybe most importantly to the NBA, Wright turned A&M, which was a wasteland for college hoops for so long, into a winner. The Aggies went 21-10 last season and advanced to the NIT.
"I hate to see him go," Gillispie said. "He's really grown in every aspect in the last year, on and off the court. It's been an honor to coach him."
For Wright, the decision to move on hasn't been simple. With one more year of eligibility, he could have continued to build A&M. But a slot in the top 10 of the draft has proven to be too much to ignore.
"If I am a high pick, I'll be living a lifelong dream," Wright said. "I know [Texas A&M] helped me, but I think I helped Texas A&M, too. It's been a win-win situation for all of us."
Some NBA team is hoping for the same thing.
TOP SHOOTING GUARD PROSPECTS
1. Martell Webster, 6-7, Seattle Prep – Sizzling individual team workouts have moved this big-time athlete up in recent weeks. The Portland Trail Blazers claimed they've never had a player perform better in their workout. Never.
2. Antoine Wright, 6-7, Texas A&M, junior.
3. Rudy Fernandez, 6-5, Spain – He's reported to be an incredible outside shooter who has the size to create his own shot.
4. Rashad McCants, 6-4, North Carolina, junior – There's no questioning his ability to put points on the board, but some scouts are troubled that Carolina had to sub him out on defense late in the NCAA title game.
5. C.J. Miles, 6-6, Dallas Skyline High School – Maybe a little raw but has all the physical tools to make a long-term impact in the NBA. Absolutely tore up the competition in the Lone Star State.
- Antoine Wright
- Melvin Watkins