North Carolina Tar Heels: In Comes Bradley


For the North Carolina Tar Heels, a return to the highest level means big play from its newest members.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are hoping that their influx of freshmen would once again push the team to the Final Four. If that is to be the case, then a key member of the freshman recruiting class will have to be incoming big man Tony Bradley.

The first reason Bradley will be so important is the need for the Heels to have three effective big men on their best teams. Look at 2005 under Coach Roy Williams, you will find Sean May, Jawad Williams, and Marvin Williams. Look at 2009 and you will find Tyler Hansbrough, Deon Thompson, and Ed Davis. Even last year’s team needed the contributions of Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Brice Johnson from the post.

Now Johnson is gone to the NBA Draft and his performance last year will be hard for any single one person to replace. Hicks and Meeks will have to step up their numbers as they step up their minutes. The real question is what do about that third spot, which brings us back to Bradley.

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Bradley is listed at 6’10” and near 240 lbs. He was the number three center recruit in the country. He can provide inside scoring. His size makes him an obstacle to start with, but not as big as the player that he seems to be compared to.

That player would be current assistant Sean May. The things that link the two are the inside game and a perceived lack of raw athleticism. The difference is that May had to lose weight to become the force that he was. So did Deon Thompson and Kennedy Meeks to similar extents. Bradley is probably not the physical figure that he will be when he leaves, but I would imagine that he stays around 240 lbs the whole time.

He won’t lack for minutes. May was injured as a freshman, but he averaged 12 points and eight rebounds per game. Of course May started for that team. Perhaps a better measure of what Bradley should be expected to do is Meeks’ freshman season. The rising senior had 7.6 points and six rebounds during his freshman campaign.

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Still there is no reason to paint Bradley into a corner until he actually plays. He will have plenty of expectations on his shoulders to deal with anyways.