It was meant to be

For Allen Bradford and Shareece Wright, best friends and teammates from Colton High School, today marks the continuation of a journey that has brought them together through the years and is set to continue at the University of Southern California.

When you listen to them talk about signing scholarships at the same school, even though they both made the decision independent of each other, you hear the same response "it was meant to be". Even before they knew each other, they knew of each other in a relationship that dates back to elementary school. The attended different elementary schools and each was the best athlete at his own school who was always hearing stories of this great athlete at the other school.

"It was always "Allen is good at this, Allen is good at that" so I knew all about him before we ever met", says Wright.

"When we first met it was in the swimming pool of a PE class in 7th grade," says Bradford. "We were cool from the start."

The relationship was almost short-lived as it looked for a time as if the two would attend separate high schools but both eventually enrolled at Colton and began a journey that saw them become two of the most highly decorated athletes the school has ever seen. Colton head coach Harold Strauss remembers the first time he noticed them and the impact was clear from the very beginning.

"My son played with Allen in Midget football and he was like a man among boys," says Strauss. "I remember watching him run and just being amazed. When he got to Colton, we brought him on to the varsity team as a freshman and he made All-League 2nd team as an outside linebacker. He had the respect of the older guys on the team right away and that's hard to do for a freshman. Shareece played JV in his freshman year and he was absolutely the star of the team. Ever since then, they've been together every step of the way. They really are true blue friends."

Wright is the more vocal of the two, Bradford at times can be more quiet. At one point Strauss compared them to Gale Sayers and Brian Piccollo of "Brian's Song" fame but when he made the reference Bradford and Wright looked at him with blank looks on their faces as they had no idea what he was talking about.

"They bring out the best in each other," says Strauss. "They are always there for each other on the sidelines at the other's games (Wright made the trip to San Antonio to support Bradford in the Army All-Star game) and like any best friends they tease each other all the time. They can argue with each other for hours over nothing, it doesn't matter what the subject is, they just each pick a side and beat it to death."

"Yeah, we argue about little stupid stuff," says Bradford. "One time we were at Hometown Buffet and there was some lemonade. It was carbonated so I said if it has bubbles, then it's soda. Shareece said it was juice. We went all through lunchtime and continued with that for like two hours until practice started. Soda or Juice. The arguments never end because both of us feel that we're right."

Shareece, who was in the background waiting for the phone during this interview when Bradford made that comment, immediately started protesting.

"See, he's talking smack right now," says Bradford. "He always wants to get his point across."

Both were quick to point out that the arguments never get out of hand although Wright did say Bradford got upset one time "when I blew him out in Madden. He didn't like that I beat him like that". As you can imagine, howls of protest were heard from the background as Bradford disagreed with that statement.

We asked about some of their traits and got the following responses:

Who is the better dresser? Bradford said "We both dress similar"

Who is the better singer? neither sings but Bradford raps and writes lyrics to which Wright said "He knows how to write a good song, he can rap"

Who is the better dancer? Bradford said "We don't dance, we boogie. We get our freak on"

We asked Bradford if he teased Shareece about anything "Yeah, he's got a small head". Does Shareece tease Allen about anything "yeah, his big head".

We asked Allen if there was something about Shareece that we didn't know and he responded "He's a real Hollywood-type, always got to look good". The same question was posed to Shareece about Allen and he said "He's got a soft heart when it comes to girls. He's soft". Once again, the protests began loudly from Bradford when he heard that comment.

"It's always good to see them together because they bring out the best in each other," says Strauss. "Allen is always shaking his head laughing at something Shareece said. They've become real positive role models in our community too. The other day we had a camp for kids and the two of them stayed afterwards for 2 and ½ hours signing stuff for the kids. There was one time recently when a middle school kid was being expelled, his dream is to play football at USC so Shareece went and talked to him for 45 minutes and came out of the room saying the kid was going to be fine and he invited him to a USC practice to watch him play. That's the kind of guys they are."

So now the journey gets ready to continue at USC as the two friends sign scholarship papers today at a ceremony at Colton High School that will be filled with pride for what they have accomplished. Both players went through the recruiting process on their own and they were determined to make their own decisions. When it turned out that the decisions would bring them together once again at USC, the reactions were predictable.

"I was happy when I found out both of us would be coming to SC," says Bradford. "If it's meant to be, then that's what is going to happen and it worked out that way."

"It's something that just happened," said Wright. "We weren't supposed to go to Colton together and it worked out. Now, we get to go to SC together. It's meant to be." Top Stories