Bartow’s all-state forward committed to the University of North Carolina late Wednesday night. Bradley, one of the area’s highest-rated basketball recruits in recent years, chose North Carolina over eight other schools including Florida, Kansas and Florida State.
For the soft-spoken Bradley, it was a relief to make a decision prior to his senior season.
“Coach (Roy) Williams and his staff, I felt most comfortable with them,” said Bradley, who liked the Tar Heels’ style of play. “I wasn’t really interested in the other schools like I was North Carolina. They have a rich history and tradition with big men.”
Rated as the No. 26 player by ESPN in the class of 2016 and No. 30 by Rivals, Bradley’s combination of size and skill put him on the recruiting radar early. As a sophomore, he helped lead Bartow to the Class 7A state finals.
Bradley’s rise on the court turned him into one of the most sought-after post players in the country, but Bartow coach Terrence McGriff is happy with how his star handed the process.
“I don’t think you can ask a kid to handle it better,” he said. “He really handled it really well from the perspective of the coaches of the universities, of Bartow High School and his family. I don’t think it could have gone any better.”
Bradley’s commitment was somewhat spontaneous. The plan according to McGriff was to host schools on in-home visits this fall before eventually making a commitment in the spring. But after some thought, the 6-foot-11 senior decided to make his decision.
“Now that I’m committed, I won’t be getting phone calls from other schools,” he said. “I can just focus on the Bartow season, improving and getting better.”
While Bradley’s family was even a bit caught off guard by the early commitment, Tony Bradley Sr. said they’re happy to have a decision made. Bradley Sr. said the family did look into North Carolina’s recent academic violation scandal, as well.
He added that his son, “just wanted to focus on his senior year.”