North Carolina is choice for Western star Wright

November 15, 1994|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,Contributing Writer

Press releases were handed out during a news conference at Western yesterday to announce that All-America senior forward Chanel Wright and four of her teammates would sign national letters of intent to Division I schools.

Fortunately, someone at Western had some whiteout.

The typewritten release originally stated that Wright was heading to Tennessee, but the school's name was covered with whiteout and replaced by North Carolina, which was handwritten.

After changing her mind several times in the past two weeks, Wright officially signed with the defending national champion Tar Heels yesterday.

Wright, The Baltimore Sun's 1993-94 co-Player of the Year who was named to All-America teams by Parade and Street & Smith's, said she made her decision on Friday.

"At one point I wanted to go to Ohio State, then Tennessee, but North Carolina was always in my mind," said Wright, who also considered Penn State. "At North Carolina, I was very comfortable. I communicated well with the coaching staff and the girls and they also have high academics."

Other Western players who signed yesterday include All-Metro guard Kimberly Smith (Georgetown), center Danielle Davis (Seton Hall), guard Tesha Tinsley (Northeastern) and forward Felicia Burroughs (Northeastern). Reserve center Lisa Jackson is expected to sign in April.

Breezy Bishop, in her 22nd season at Western, said she has never had more than four players in one class accept basketball scholarships.

The players who signed yesterday have played together on amateur and high school teams for six years. During their three years at Western, the Doves have gone 68-7 and been to the Class 4A state finals twice, winning the title last season.

A three-time All-Metro selection and an Amateur Athletic Union All-American, Wright averaged 22.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.8 steals last season for the Doves (23-2). She is Western's all-time leading scorer (1,248 points).

Wright, 6 feet 1, has steadily improved her shooting range to complement her offensive moves and has the versatility to play all five positions. She is likely to play at small forward or shooting guard.

"Chanel was first on our list," North Carolina head coach Sylvia Hatchell said. "We feel she fits our style and we fit hers as well. We have an exciting style of play and she's an exciting kind of player."

Bishop said she had expected Wright to become Western's second athlete to play for Tennessee. Dana Johnson, a 1991 Western graduate, is a senior center for the Volunteers.

"Last weekend she had visited Tennessee and given me a verbal commitment," Bishop said. "I really didn't know she was going to sign with North Carolina until late [Sunday] evening."

Smith, a 5-7 point guard, averaged 16.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 4.1 steals last season.

Because of her flashy moves and animated style, Smith is one of the area's more exciting players to watch.

"Kim is going to excel in our style of play," Georgetown coach Patrick Knapp said. "She is an electrifying player who makes big plays."

With Hammond graduate Kacy Williams -- The Baltimore Sun's co-Player of the Year along with Wright last season -- likely to play the point for Georgetown, Smith probably will compete for time at shooting guard. In anticipation of that adjustment, Bishop said she will move Smith to shooting guard this season.

Tinsley averaged 10.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 4.5 steals and was named to the All-Baltimore City/County team last season.

Davis, 6-2, averaged 10.0 points and 5.0 rebounds and Burroughs scored 7.2 points and grabbed 5.0 rebounds per game.

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