Sean Moran/Inside Carolina

UNC Commit Tony Bradley Rises to the Occasion

Future Tar Heel big man had another big showing on a big stage.

FORT MYERS, Fla. --- Tony Bradley recorded a impressive double-double in his first game at the City of Palms Classic with 33 points and 13 rebounds.

“North Carolina is getting a damn steal,” said Bartow head coach Terrence McGriff. “They are getting a steal. I told Roy he is getting a steal. He’s better than a top 25 player. He’s as skilled as any other player at his position. What’s athletic? There’s a scoreboard and he puts it in there.”

The game was billed as UNC vs. Duke. Tar Heel signee Tony Bradley versus Duke signee Jayson Tatum. With a lot of hype around this opening match-up, Bradley rose to the occasion despite a 64-54 loss to Chaminade (Mo.), USA Today’s No. 10 team in the country.

Tatum outscored Bradley 36 to 33, but it was Bradley who got stronger as the game progressed.

“I looked forward to this,” said Bradley. “I saw it on the schedule that we played his team. I couldn’t wait to play this team. I was ready. I don’t think it was a scoring battle. I just try to win the game, help the team as best as I can.

Bradley matched-up against Tyler Cook, a 6-9 four-star committed to Iowa, and 6-10 Will Gladson. Despite the worthy match-ups in the post, Bradley went 14-for-20 from the floor and was a dominant force on the boards during an attempted fourth quarter comeback. He hit four out of his last five shots and was routinely double teamed when catching the ball.

“I was thinking that everybody else is tired,” said Bradley. “I’m just trying to work my hardest and do my best to give that extra effort.”

Added McGriff: “He’s in as good of shape as any player in the country. For his frame, there ain’t a 6-10, 250-pound kid that can move like him. So he’s in good shape. Good conditioning.”

During the game, Bradley made quick and decisive moves in the post and converted several and-ones. He kept the ball high above his head after offensive rebounds and didn’t shy away from contact. While all of his points came in the paint, he did show some glimpses of an improving outside shot.

“I made a couple threes in each game so I have confidence in shooting,” noted Bradley.

So far the UNC signee is off to a strong start in his senior season as he recorded his sixth double-double and fourth game of 30 points or more. He is currently averaging 25.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.

“Defense,” noted McGriff when discussing the area Bradley had improved on most in his high school career. “He’s always been good offensively. He can hit an outside shot. He’s improved with his outside shot. He’s improved on his ball-handling, but his biggest attribute is he defends. He can guard the post. He can guard the perimeter. I don’t know if he can guard Tatum, but nobody else can guard him. Defensively, he can block shots. He does it all. He’s a complete ball-player.”

Despite the loss to Chaminade, Bradley has one goal in mind.

“Just to improve,” Bradley said. “Improve on my shot more and conditioning - get more athletic.”

While busy with his senior year, Bradley is staying connected to UNC .

“I missed it,” said Bradley about the win over UCLA that finished hours before his tipoff at the City of Palms. “I’ve seen every other game. He’s (Roy Williams) just saying he can’t wait for me to get on campus and go on from there.”

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