published Friday, February 10th, 2012

Eighth-grade varsity basketballer: Wright

When a coach is also a father, what sport his child ends up playing seems a natural choice. But not so when dad coaches football and the child, in this case Boyd-Buchanan's Maddie Wright, is a girl.

Rusty Wright previously played and coached at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and currently commutes to Waleska, Ga., where he is defensive coordinator at NAIA Reinhardt University. Dad's coaching stop at Butler University in Indianapolis was what influenced his daughter's choice.

"I was surrounded by people who watched basketball nonstop," Maddie said.

By seventh grade she was 5-foot-8, and a year later she's a starting post player in high school.

"Maddie posts well," Lady Bucs coach Karen Sewell said. "She's extremely coordinated for an eighth-grader. She's got a great shot."

Wright missed nine games with a fracture in her elbow, but now she's back and was averaging 8.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and had totaled 38 blocks before Thursday's game, her 14th.

"It's a faster tempo," Wright said of high school games. "You're playing against girls bigger than you, taller than you and have more experience than you. I still play at a middle school pace sometimes. I need to come up on that."

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or

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