College Hoops

Gators, Gamecocks Bring Familiar Faces Back to O’Dome

Gators, Gamecocks Bring Familiar Faces Back to O'Dome

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Brent Wright recalls the exaxt moment he wanted to make a difference. 

His hometown of Miami. At a McDonald’s. Wright, one of the most important basketball signees in University of Florida history, watched as a young boy struggled to order his food because he couldn’t read the menu. 

“That’s what catapulted me,” Wright said. “That’s what inspired me.”


Brent Wright

It’s called the B. Wright Leadership Academy. The non-profit private school was founded in 2013 by Wright, a member of Billy Donovan’s first signing class, after he returned to South Florida following a lengthy professional career overseas. The academy, which numbers about 180 students ages kindergarten through eighth grade, according to its mission statement, strives to “provide a safe and nurturing environment for children by fostering an engaging and educational atmosphere which will promote each child’s unique social, emotional, physical, technology, and cognitive development with a strong emphasis on arts and technology.” 

Wright made a decent living during his 14 pro seasons, spanning stops in Italy, Israel, Sweden, Latvia, Belgium, Croatia, Russia, Ukraine and Iran from 2001-13. But he seems to have found his true calling in Liberty Square, not far from Miami High, which Wright helped lead to multiple state championships as a forward in the mid-1990s. 

“I wanted to give back to the community and to give back to the kids and youth in the community,” he said. 

Wright, now 44, was always a soft-spoken sort, not into self-promotion, but his endeavors back home may be something he can share with a handful of former UF teammates Wednesday night when they watch the Gators (11-8, 4-3) take on South Carolina 8-11, 1-5) at Exactech Arena/O’Connell Center. Wright, along with the likes of Kenyan Weaks, Teddy Dupay and Ronnie King (maybe others), are coming back for this game to see another foundational Florida player, inspirational and overachieving point guard Eddie Shannon, their former Florida teammate who will be on the bench as an assistant coach for the Gamecocks.

The Gator who hatched the idea for the mini-reunion won’t be in attendance. Major Parker, like the others a base member of Billy Donovan’s first NCAA Tournament team, died of a heart attack in November. 

[Read senior writer Chris Harry’s “Pregame Stuff” setup here]

Parker had been in touch with Taurean Green, UF’s director of player development, about the mini-homecoming and the recruiting…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Florida Gators…