Feb. 5, 2007
County players among All-American hopefuls
Courtesy: The Tennessean
by: Chip Cirillo
They're all inside players.
They're all from Williamson County teams.
They all attend private schools in the Division II Middle Region.
They've all signed letters of intent.
And all four have been nominated for the McDonald's All-American high school basketball teams.
Brentwood Academy's Brandon Brown and Brian Wright and Battle Ground Academy's Scott Saunders have been nominated for the boys team. BA's Victoria Dunlap has been nominated for the girls team.
Wright's older brother, Brandan, made the team last year when the game was held in San Diego.
"I went out there last year and had a lot of fun watching him play," Brian said. "Brandan said it was a blast playing with the best players in the country and getting challenged like that. It's definitely a big deal."
The final selection of the 24 boys and 24 girls who make the teams will be announced Feb. 24. The games will be held March 28 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., and televised live by ESPN.
Wright averages 13.3 points and 2.5 assists per game as a 6-foot-5 small forward for the Eagles (18-2), who are ranked first in the Division II state poll. Brown and Wright have both signed with Lipscomb.
"I didn't expect this would ever happen," Brown said. "To be nominated is awesome because you're up there with the best players in the nation."
Brown, a 6-6 power forward, is averaging 17. 1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
"Brandon is unique because he can play with his back to the basket; he is very good in the perimeter and he can defend the perimeter and the post, so he's a mismatch problem," BA coach Lyle Husband said. "Brian is tremendously athletic. He's an incredible leaper. Defensively he's really tough."
Saunders, a 6-9 center who has signed with Rice, is averaging 19.7 points and 13 rebounds per game for BGA (14-6).
"Having this many nominated definitely speaks well for Division II," Saunders said. "A lot of people think the private schools are not as strong as the (Class) AA and AAA schools."
Saunders came to BGA two years ago from Jesuit High School in New Orleans after his family evacuated from Hurricane Katrina. His father, Larry, was a captain at Duke in 1970 and 1971.
"Scott made the adjustment very well," BGA coach Gary Smith said. "The kids just love him. He was named all-state last year as a junior."
Dunlap, a 6-foot post player who has signed with Kentucky in basketball and track and field, averages 13.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.6 assists per game. She's also a regular customer at McDonald's.
"My favorite thing to get is the No. 12 (Extra Value Meal)," Dunlap said. "That's a Filet-O-Fish with large fries and a large Hi-C orange."
She's a large reason why BA (20-6) is ranked second after winning its first state championship last season. Dunlap led BA to a 41-25 win over No. 3 Pope John Paul II (17-5) on Friday.
"She's hard to guard," BA coach Rhonda Brown said. "I'm sure every team we play says we're going to box her out, but that's easier said than done. She's one of the top high jumpers in the state and probably in the country."