Bright Future: Former Hoops Star Shares His Knowledge Of The Game On And Off The Court
Torris Bright once scored 70 points in a high school basketball game and distributed 21 assists in another. He took his talents to Louisiana State University (LSU) in the early 2000s where he was a four-year starter and attached his name to several records.
Bright’s life after college has featured some extreme highs and lows, including a brief stint playing professionally overseas. Through it all, he stayed committed to the sport that gave him so much, and now he’s returning the favor. Through his Gametime Coaching & Consulting company, Bright is determined to teach young athletes how to avoid some of the red flags that he encountered during his playing days.
Synonymous with Louisiana basketball, Bright wanted to start his company where it all began for him. Walking the same streets he grew up on, entering the same gyms that he played in as a kid, Bright tells his story in hopes to inspire the next generation to fulfill their hoop dreams while being cautious of the interferences that come with success.
Zenger News goes one-on-one with Bright to discuss his plans for Gametime.
Zenger: How is everything going?
Bright: It’s going good, man. Getting older now so just working and taking care of the family. Living my dream through them, trying to teach them.
Zenger: At some point, all athletes either retire from their playing aspirations or put them in the past. Was it easy for you to put your playing aspirations behind you and pass on your knowledge to the youth?
Bright: It was easy because a lot of people were asking me to train their kids. They won’t let me let it go. A lot of people know me from basketball, and I just felt that it’s just my duty to keep sharing that knowledge. I’ve been through a lot dealing with basketball, the highs and the lows. Through friends, family, coaches, agents, traveling. Basketball has brought me around the world a few times.
I experienced a lot, and I think it’s my purpose to be the eyes, the ears and that protection for a lot of these athletes who are going where I’ve been. I think it’s needed. Not only for the athlete going to college and trying to get to the next level, but for the athlete that maybe doesn’t have the grades or the athlete that’s getting in trouble or has been in trouble. Also, for the former athlete trying to find his or her place after their careers are over. I’ve created a company where I could help all sorts of athletes succeed in life.
Zenger: You used an operative word, you said protect these young athletes. With NIL deals, the transfer portal being wide open, and even with so much interference for the service of high school athletes. It seems to be more important than ever to have great people around you and watch whom you take advice from.
Bright: The one word I would say to all these young athletes all the way up to the pros is “mentor.” You not only need a coach, but you need a mentor. A coach will cheer you on and tell you “good job.”They are more like a motivator. But a mentor has actually been through it. They can provide that guidance. I can tell you, be very careful when you’re trying to pursue a scholarship, the leadership and the coaches that will be coaching you.
That’s the benefit of a mentor. I can tell you some of the experiences I’ve had dealing with agents. It just lets you know that everybody doesn’t have your best interest. I also have the experience to let these young athletes know that college sports are a billion-dollar business annually. I know that now, but I didn’t know that when I was in college. If these young athletes can put it in their mind and treat it as a business, that would help them out tremendously.
Zenger: You have accomplished so much within the sport of basketball, does any accomplishment stand out more than the others?
Bright: I’ve had so many accomplishments. Now that I look back at it, I couldn’t name just one. I got to travel the world, I played in college on national television, ESPN. I’ve played in front of thousands of fans. I’ve met some very interesting people. I lived a very extravagant lifestyle, but I’ve also been at the bottom, a few times.
I just think collectively basketball has taught me a lot. I don’t have a number one. I’m just grateful that I have been through it all, and I think my testimony and my life story are a lesson for a lot of athletes that are going through what I went through.
Zenger: You could have brought your Gametime Coaching & Consulting Company anywhere in the world. What made you bring it back home to Slidell, Louisiana?
Bright: There’s no place like home. I’ve been told you have to make a lot of noise at home before you can make a lot of noise nationally. Of course, the goal is to spread the word nationally, and that’s what I’m doing now, but I have to catch these kids in these neighborhoods that I grew up in. There’s a connection. They are growing up in the same place I grew up in. There is a bond there. It’s personal because I came from this area.
Zenger: You recently started open play for ages 6-18. That’s where a gym is opened up and kids can come play. Is that to showcase their talents, get them off the streets or a combination of both?
Bright: It’s a combination of both. Definitely getting the kids off the street, but it’s also a way for a lot of kids to come in and get them to sign up for our basketball league, which is this summer. It serves many purposes, but it’s a recruiting tactic to get them into the summer league.
We’re just trying to build basketball up in this area and be a mentor in the Slidell area. Word around is a lot of people are losing interest in basketball in this area; they are going to other places, so this is our way of trying to help out the community and us just giving back.
Zenger: You wrote a book titled “Overtime.” The tagline for the book is, “How To Become Successful In Life After Sports.” Is this a one-off or do you plan to continue putting books out?
Bright: That’s actually the third part of that book. I don’t know why it worked out like that, but it just did. I wrote the first two books… the first one is called, “Practice — How To Get A College Athletic Scholarship.” It will be out soon. It’s for high school kids. The second one is called, “Gametime — How To Become Successful As A College Athlete.”
Zenger: So, you’re dropping them in reverse.
Bright: Yeah, I’m doing the reverse thing. I don’t know why it worked out like that, but God does things in mysterious ways.
Zenger: You spoke with some high school basketball teams as well. Is public speaking also part of the Gametime outfit?
Bright: Oh yeah, without a doubt. I will be speaking with high school athletes, different leagues, and I have a couple of colleges lined up. Public speaking is a part of my company. My goal is to go around telling my story. I want to give them advice and inspiration and let them know that they can always contact me for any kind of guidance or mentorship. I’ve been through it.
I can’t tell you how to navigate something that I haven’t been through. Since I’ve been there, I can teach, tell and show these kids which route to take and which route to avoid. Public and motivational speaking is one of the ways I have to get my message out.
Edited by Richard Pretorius and Matthew B. Hall