Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Church Chat in Chattanooga

Any questions on whether Michael Bradley is a good, clean-cut kid may have been answered right away when I called him this evening.

“Can I call you back?” he asked. “I’m in church right now.”

No problem.

When reached later, Bradley revealed why he decided to commit to UConn late Tuesday night.

“The opportunity to play at a high level and compete,” he said. “It gives me the opportunity to experience basketball at a high level.”

Bradley, a 6-foot-9 (by his own admission), lanky center out of Tyner High in Chattanooga, TN, is a bit of a project. Currently ranked as the No. 15 center in the Class of 2010 by, Bradley didn’t even start playing basketball until the ninth grade. Why so late to the game?

“At the beginning of the eighth grade I was 5-10, and at the end of ninth grade, I was 6-8,” he said. “I came into ninth grade at 6-4, and throughout the season, I was 6-6, 6-8 ...”

Bradley, listed at 210 pounds, realizes he needs to get stronger to play in the Big East. He visited four schools -- UConn, Drake, Virginia Commonwealth and Georgia -- and whittled his final choice down to UConn and Drake.

An official visit to Storrs back on Sept. 25, during which he played in scrimmages with current UConn players, helped seal the deal.

“It felt good to be around good players, but also good teammates with each other, too,” Bradley said.

An excellent student (he was recruited by Harvard, as well), Bradley would like to be a pharmacy major at UConn. Born and raised in Chattanooga, he has no problem heading up to the colder Northeast -- and, in fact, “didn’t even want to stay in Tennessee.”

Bradley is just happy the recruiting process is over.

“It’s been crazy,” he said. “My recruiting lasted about four months, from Harvard to UConn, knocking on my door.”

And it’s UConn’s knock that Bradley winds up answering.