ONE COOL NIGHT AUGUSTA: 2/12/16

By calwal — January 22, 2016

Via AC: Nesia Wright’s busy life just got more hectic.

After learning the former Georgia-Lina Lady Hurricanes franchise was about to fold, the former Laney High School and Augusta State basketball star sprang into action. She bought the team in November and turned it into the Georgia Soul, a Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League team that will begin play in the spring.

“It all came so fast,” Wright said. “I didn’t want to see these women sitting around with nothing to do.”

For Wright, it’s an additional task to add to her life, but one she enjoys. Wright lives in Graniteville, commuting an hour each weekday to Fort Jackson, S.C., where she serves as an Army captain. She will celebrate her five-year anniversary on active duty in February.

The 33-year-old Wright (better known as Ernesia Wideman before getting married to Rocardo Wright) was a star basketball player at Laney – she was named to The Augusta Chronicle All-Area first team her senior season. She then played at Augusta State, where the all-conference point guard helped lead the Jaguars to a Southeast Regional title and their only appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in 2004. In her senior season, she averaged 13.4 points, 4.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds a game.

In 2006, she played for the Augusta Blaze, a semi-pro team. Following the season, she took an offer to play for a professional team in Romania. She played two seasons overseas before returning to the U.S. She added stints with the Blaze, the Seattle Express and the Lakewood Panthers.

Now, instead of playing, she’s running the show. Wright held a pair of tryouts in December and planned to have between 12 to 14 players on the roster. Practices began this week and will continue throughout the spring leading up to the team’s first home game, May 1, at the Old Columbia Middle School in Grovetown. The team will play in the WBCBL, a professional development league, with the season running through August.

“It’s about building relationships and helping build these players into great young ladies,” said Wright, who still has contacts overseas and can help any potential prospects.

Aside from helping her players, Wright has other responsibilities. As team owner, she’s now seeking sponsorships from individuals and businesses in the Augusta area. She’s hopeful the community will help become a part of the team and support the Soul with expenses like equipment and travel.

“One Cool Night” will be a benefit and celebration as an introduction of Team Georgia Soul to the CSRA and surrounding areas Friday February 12, 2016 at Tribeca 968 Broad street.. The launch of the team will be celebrated with invited guest consisting of former CSRA athletes, coaches, alumnus and Aquarians being in attendance. The night entail of socializing/ networking with a live Disc Jockey in a diverse environment amongst area professionals. Paine College and Augusta University will be celebrating their homecomings.

Admission: $10

Georgia Soul Basketball Women’s Professional Organization partnered with the 501 C-3/non-profit youth organization the Georgia Sting. Their mission is to inspire women and provide opportunities to reach individual and team potential by providing members with mentorship, leadership, encouragement, sisterhood, community outreach and a passion to inspire others. This organization provides support and resources to encourage young female athletes to excel, both athletically and professionally. The Georgia Soul compete competitively in the WBCBL (Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League).

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