Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WAIT IS OVER FOR WRIGHT Florida's Star Freshman on a Tear since Injury

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WAIT IS OVER FOR WRIGHT Florida's Star Freshman on a Tear since Injury

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE -- Of all the things Brent Wright thought he'd

have problems with his first year of college, this wasn't one.

But there he was -- all 6 feet, 7 inches of him -- tossing and

turning in the tiny bed in the middle of the night three months

ago, wondering when this purgatory would end.

It was easy to sleep in high school when he was the star player

with everything in front of him. Now, he was the hotshot

freshman at the University of Florida -- the player who hadn't

stepped on the court in weeks because of a broken bone in his

foot.

Brent Wright never faced pressure like he did those lonely days

last fall. Expectations can do strange things to a man.

"It was hard for me to sleep at night, because I knew what

everybody was expecting, but I couldn't be out there," said

Wright, a top-35 recruit from Miami Senior High School. "All I

wanted to do was get back on the court, but I couldn't. I've

never been more frustrated."

Maybe that's why he stayed on the court last Saturday and

straddled the ball with the final seconds ticking away, waiting

for a foul and looking for a couple of free throws to further

seal the Gators' Southeastern Conference victory over previously

unbeaten Tennessee.

For the first time this season, Florida coach Billy Donovan

found something to get upset about concerning his prize

freshman.

"I'd be happy with his performance if he wasn't trying to pad

his stats there at the end," Donovan joked.

The way Wright has been playing lately, it may be hard for

Donovan to find anything to complain about.

Since Donovan arrived at Florida last year, he has desperately

needed an athletic, rangy player to produce at both ends of the

court. Wright, who has the size of a forward but can run the

floor and handle the ball like a guard, has become that player.

"He has a lot of talent," UF center Damen Maddox said. "He can

do so many different things. …

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