Bradley Bonding with UNC Staff

Tony Bradley got off to a solid start at Hampton EYBL, showing why UNC has prioritized him as a center target in the 2016 class. Bradley and his father retraced their UNC recruitment and highlighted the relationship they've developed with the Tar Heel staff in a postgame interview with Inside Carolina.

HAMPTON, Va. – The bright lights and crowded gyms don’t mean much to Tony Bradley Jr.

When he comes to tournaments like this weekend’s season-opening EYBL session, he doesn’t pay much attention to coaches lining up around his E1T1 team’s games.

It might sound cliché, but he just wants to work hard and get better. Every day.

“Play hard, that’s my strength,” said Bradley Jr., a 6-10 junior from Bartow (Fla.) High School. “ (I) do whatever I need to do to get rebounds, run the floor - that’s it. I can throw a hook with the left or right hand. Those are my strengths.”

His strengths have caught the attention of numerous colleges, and the in-state schools as well as national powers like UNC and Kansas are already in pursuit.

Roy Williams and the Tar Heels started recruiting Bradley after a strong performance at an Adidas camp in Chicago last summer. After a couple of trips to Bartow, and additional viewings by assistants Hubert Davis and Steve Robinson, Williams offered Bradley a scholarship.

Four months later, Bradley took an official visit -- his first -- to UNC.

"That was my very first official visit," Bradley said. "I wanted to take my first one there - I decided it would be North Carolina. I enjoyed it. Coach Roy, he’s a great coach. I spent a lot of time with him that weekend. It was a great experience.

Bradley’s father, Tony Bradley Sr., explained: “I heard UNC was playing Duke at home and I told Tony that’d be a good experience. It was a chance to see the environment first hand. Why not visit one of the top schools there is? It’s a privilege and an honor to be considered by them and we don’t take anything for granted.”

“Roy did a great job with the hospitality and the whole staff, Hubert Davis, (Steve) Robinson did a wonderful job,” he continued. “We were impressed with the way they treated us.”

The Bradley family communicates most often with Davis, who Bradley Sr. said has been “wonderful.”

Bradley’s senior year goals match those of most entering their final year of high school. He hopes to win a state title, play well enough to become a McDonald’s All-American and make a college decision - a decision that will be carefully examined and evaluated.

“I’m going to take all five of them (visits), so (I have) four more,” said Bradley Jr. “(I’ll) probably (take them) after the summer.”

Added Bradley Sr.: “We’re looking for a system that he fits in. We’re looking at who is in front of him, who the schools are recruiting and, of course, academics. Those are very important to us. At Carolina we liked how everything was so close. But, we’re going to take our time and make an informed decision.”

Rob Harrington Game Evaluation

Bradley entered the evening carrying the No. 36 ranking, and if anything that number appeared slightly low on Friday night. He possesses excellent hands, long arms and high shoulders, all of which enable him to play taller than his actual height. He can be a center in today’s college game, with the idea that perhaps he can evolve into more of a forward as he matures.

While not explosive from a standing position, Bradley scores via hooks (usually right-handed hooks over his left shoulder), tip-ins, and transitions extremely quickly from catch to shot.

As someone who’s playing to establish a more robust identity, he understands that he must focus on each and every game.

”Just to play hard, that’s my strength,” Bradley said. “I like to face up and shoot the 15 footer.”

Bradley’s shooting range certainly holds promise. Most of today’s successful big men can step out and bury an open look, and from that perspective he’s already ahead of the game.

Based on Friday’s night’s performance, Bradley may warrant a move up the rankings upon our next release.

Tony Bradley Profile

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