BASKETBALL: Ramel Bradley

6-2, 191 pounds • Senior • New York Kentucky didn't have a nonconference season to remember, but guard Ramel Bradley has been a big part of the Wildcats' steady improvement. The 6-foot-2 senior is averaging 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals for first-year coach Billy Gillispie.

Bradley has been even more important in Southeastern Conference play, averaging 17.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He has been a staple on the court, too. Bradley has played every minute in seven of 11 SEC games and 39 minutes in another. The only significant time Bradley missed was because of the concussion he sustained in the first half against Georgia earlier this month. It sidelined him one game.

"He doesn't seem to get too fazed by anything," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "He just keeps showing up. He's got a short memory. ... He just keeps going to the next play."

Strengths

In addition to his durability, Bradley has been productive. He leads Kentucky on both ends of the floor. He's the Wildcats top 3-point shooter (39.8 percent) and leads the team in assists (3.3). He's also the most crafty defensive player, averaging 1.7 steals a game.

The guard has the ability to knock down the 3-point shot, but also has proven to be valuable at taking the ball to the basket. He leads the Wildcats in free throws attempted (109) and made (127). Bradley is the team's leader in free-throw percentage (83.8), proving that his aggressiveness with the basketball is rewarded at the foul line.

Weaknesses

One big weakness in Bradley's game is his turnover count. The guard, who does much of the ball-handling, has 75 assists and 73 turnovers this season. He is averaging four turnovers a game in SEC play.

But Gillispie told the Lexington Herald-Leader earlier this week that many of the mistakes are a result of Bradley trying too hard. It's something he is more than willing to accept.

"You could have a guy out there who is really a cute little point guard who initiates the offense, but is no threat to score," he told the newspaper. "I'd rather live with a turnover or two every once in a while from a guy who stretches the defense, makes shots, makes free throws and scores rather than (a player who is) one-dimensional."

How to Play Him

Arkansas got a good look at how hard it can be to stop Bradley last season, when the guard spearheaded a comeback against the Razorbacks in Kentucky's 82-74 win. He scored 22 of his 24 points in the second half, added 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, frustrating Arkansas' guards on both ends of the floor.

Gary Ervin, Patrick Beverley and Stefan Welsh will have their hands full, but must start by limiting his ability to drive the ball and cutting back on turnovers. The more Bradley can affect the game with his defense and penetrate into the post, the better Kentucky will play.

The Skinny

Bradley hasn't been as sharp offensively since suffering the concussion on Feb. 2, which was the result of a hard foul by Georgia's Dave Bliss on a fast break. The Kentucky guard was averaging 21.4 points in SEC games before the injury, but is has dropped to 16 since.

But Bradley remains a critical part of Kentucky's plans down the stretch and has played every minute of the past three games. Bradley scored only eight points against Georgia earlier this week, but grabbed 12 rebounds and was instrumental in helping the Wildcats hold off the Bulldogs late charge down the stretch.

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