North Carolina lands needed piece

Landing Tony Bradley was big for North Carolina because of his ability on the court, but it was just as needed for off the court reasons.

It hasn’t been the smoothest start to the 2016 recruiting cycle for North Carolina. With NCAA allegations hanging over the program, the Tar Heels have struggled to get going, but on Wednesday night they got great news from Tony Bradley.

The 6-foot-10 Bradley is one of the more technical low post scorers in the class. While not an elite athlete or super explosive, Bradley does have excellent hands, a nice touch on the low block, and just has a good idea of how to play.

Bradley was especially impressive at the Nike Global Challenge in July where he went against the best players in the country and more than held his own. He also showed that high level ability at the Peach Jam, and continued it for the rest of the summer.

Now Bradley has pledged to North Carolina, and this is huge for the Tar Heels. Quite simply North Carolina needed to get their mojo back on the recruiting trail. While peer programs like Kentucky and Duke have been reeling in top two or three recruiting classes recently, North Carolina hasn’t quite had the same success.

Whether that is due simply to NCAA investigation or not is unknown, but one thing is for sure, Bradley is a huge shot in the arm for Roy Williams and his staff.

The Tar Heels will still have a senior in Kennedy Meeks to man the pivot in the 2016-17 season, but they had little depth behind him. Now they have Bradley who can not only spell Meeks, but even possibly against the right personnel play next to Meeks and allow the Tar Heels go big when needed.

Bradley also gives the Tar Heels something that they don’t have with Meeks, or his backup this year Joel James, a center who can really run the floor and excel in their secondary break offense. With a host of point guards who can push the pace and with athleticism on the wing, a mobile center feels a major need.

More than landing a quality player who can help on the court, this gives North Carolina some more credibility on the recruiting trail. Who knows if this commitment will lead to others, or even assist with others, but there is no question that landing the No. 31 player in the country gives UNC hope that it can get back to recruiting with the absolute best of the best, which is the absolute expectation in Chapel Hill.

Now Williams and his staff need to capitalize on this commitment and surround Bradley with some more talented players, but this is a good first piece to the puzzle and something that was absolutely needed.

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