Monday, August 29, 2011

Bradley May Give Up Scholarship

UConn is exploring several avenues to free up a scholarship for top-rated recruit Andre Drummond, and it appears that having Michael Bradley give up his scholarship, at least for a year, is one of the more viable ones.

Bradley, a 6-foot-10 center, sat out last season as a redshirt. He is expected to vie for playing time this season, but may be doing so on his own dime.

“There are several options I know the school is helping him to explore, (like) how much financial aid he would be eligible for,” said Lynn Jordan, program director at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, where Bradley spent most of his high school years. “His circumstances are a little unique, so that may open the door up for financial aid.”

As I wrote in this feature story a little over a year ago, Bradley’s background certainly is unique. He moved into the children’s home – a facility that works with families of children who, for a variety of reasons, can’t live at home – when he was about 12, returned to live with his mother, Jacqueline Phinazee, about 18 months later, but soon returned to the home and spent the bulk of his high school years there. For a time, he lived with Jordan and her son, Blake, and maintains a close relationship with the family.

“As far as I know, he hasn’t signed anything yet, officially,” said Jordan. “They’re going to try to get the numbers together, let him see them, and if they think it will work out as far as the money, it’s something he’s willing to do.”

Indeed, she added that Bradley didn’t at all feel forced into sacrificing his scholarship for Drummond, the 6-11 center who’s rated as one of the top big men recruits in America.

If Bradley’s situation doesn’t work out, there are several other options that UConn is exploring, according to a source close to the program.

Drummond surprised everyone – including the UConn hoops staff – by Tweeting his commitment to the program on Friday evening. While the Huskies had been working behind the scenes for a while to make this happen, they were caught off-guard by Drummond’s abrupt announcement.

UConn has just 10 scholarships to give this year due, down from the maximum 13, due to recruiting and academic violations. All 10 are accounted for, so the only way for Drummond to join this year’s team is for one of them to be vacated. Drummond, a Middletown resident who attended St. Thomas More Prep the past three years, can’t pay his own way as a walk-on because he is considered a recruited athlete.

*** Oh, and this: Charlie Villanueva has been named to the Dominican Republic squad for teh FIBA Americas tournament.

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