Jon Lopez/Nike

Senior Season Review: UNC Commit Tony Bradley

UNC signee Tony Bradley came into his own as a senior, recording 19 double-doubles.

Tony Bradley had a much different feeling when he stepped on the court during his senior season.

He could run from rim-to-rim a lot faster than before. He could play extended minutes for the first time in his career. He could dunk effortlessly, rebound in traffic and score as many points as his Bartow (Fla.) High School team needed.

In his own words, he just “felt better.”

“I feel that I’m so much more explosive than last year,” said Bradley, UNC’s highest-rated 2016 signee. “I’m looking to dunk the ball more than I had before, because getting ready for the college level they’ll knock your stuff out of there if you don’t come strong.”

Bradley and Bartow fell short of their goal of a state title by two games, losing in the Class 7A, Region 2 final to Melbourne (Fla.) High School. Bradley led a young Bartow team to 19 wins, posted 19 double-doubles, scored 25 or more points nine times and grabbed 15 or more rebounds seven times.

“The season went pretty good, we just didn’t get where we wanted,” Bradley explained. “Right when the buzzer sounded I was like ‘wow, I can’t believe I finished my last high school game.’ That was a Friday night, so I was just thinking about it all weekend. My season is over, that’s my last high school game.”

Still, Bradley said he’s proud of what he and his teammates accomplished this season.

“We won our district and that was one of our goals,” he said. “We went to some big tournaments and held our own against some top teams in the country. It’s just disappointing we just didn’t get to our final goal that we were working so hard for at the end of the season.”

After taking a few days to process the end of a basketball journey that started four years ago, Bradley and his father – Tony Bradley Sr. – started preparing for the next one. On March 30, Bradley will be one of 24 players participating in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago.

“I’ve just been working out, lifting weights and trying to stay in shape for the practices and the game,” said Bradley. “I’m looking forward to the competition up there against some good players. I’m looking forward to going to the Ronald McDonald house too. I watched a documentary on it and it seems cool.”

In between games, training sessions and schoolwork, Bradley – who said he’s now 6-10 ½ and 235 pounds – has found time to watch this year’s Carolina team several times.

“It’s been a while since I talked to the coaching staff on the phone, but they were texting me on the night of games and wishing me good luck,” Bradley said. “They’re playing pretty good this season and Brice Johnson is doing good. Hopefully they can keep improving on a couple of things.”

Bradley is scheduled to arrive in Chapel Hill in mid-June. He hopes to wear jersey No. 5 – most recently worn by Ty Lawson, Kendall Marshall and Marcus Paige.

Inside Carolina Top Stories