Sunday, September 28, 2008

Avery Bradley To Texas

Left: Coach Max Ivany of, Northwest Panther Bossman Gary Ward, and University of Texas Basketball Assistant Coach Rodney Terry kickin' it at the Texas-Arkansas Game.
Right: Our view from Row 6 on the 45 yard line behind a dejected Arkansas bench.
I went to the Texas 52 Arkansas 10 football game yesterday, and in the midst of the drubbing inflicted on the Hogs by the Horns, a basketball story broke out. I was sitting most of the game in the recruit section as Colt McCoy and the Gang de-tusked the Hogs. As with most basketball recruits, the coaches love to get the kids on campus for an official visit amidst the pageantry and spectacle of the atmosphere on campus that comes about as a result of a big time football program. Not too many schools can put this dual sport pedigree in front of the kids like the University of Texas can. In a sea of burnt orange the football team did it's part to woo big time recruit 2009 6'3" SG Avery Bradley of Tacoma, WA.
By half time, the game was over. Meanwhile, Bradley and his AAU Coach Gary Ward (Northwest Panthers)were surprised by the 91 degree Texas heat. Coach Ward hung out with me, chewing the fat while the Longhorns newest basketball commitment headed for shade. He and his player host, current Longhorn Damion James continued on with their campus tour along with the adoring fans and coeds. I was lax in my reporting role and failed to snap a quick pic of Avery before he headed on down the road, hence all you get was the one of us
I asked Coach Gary Ward who has had Bradley in his program for 4 years what kind of kid he was. Ward's report was glowing. It was one of an unselfish team player who can score in a variety of ways, but at the same time does not need to dominate the ball. At 6'3" Bradley has a 6'6" wingspan. Ward is convinced he was the best perimeter defender on the circuit this past summer. Avery averaged 32 ppg this summer playing with the Northwest Panthers on the Reebok Circuit.
Because the D-1 Ambassadors play mostly on the Nike Circuit we did not get a chance to get it on with the Panthers this past summer. Coach Ward and I were talking out loud as to how much fun it would have been to see Bradley and his other outstanding guard, Abdul Gaddy ( 2009 University of Arizona commit) go up against my guard heavy D-1 Ambassador group led by 2008 Arizona commit Garland Judkins, 2009 UT-San Antonio commit Kendric Robinson, and 2009 big time recruit Brandon Thompson (offers from SMU and Colorado).
I did have two opportunities though to see Bradley in action this past year. Our respective programs were both at the Texas Elite Camp (which the Ambassadors won) and in the Spring at the prestigious Arizona Cactus Classic where the Northwest Panthers advanced to the semi finals before losing to the Compton Magic. Along the way I saw Bradley drop 28 on the New York Gauchos, 31 on Pump N Run Elite and then 25 vs. the Compton Magic. The kid can flat out score. Midrange, deep, getting to the rack, rebounding name it. Avery will finish his senior year of high school at Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, NV.
Let me tell you folks, we're happy to have him here in Texas next fall. So Avery, here's an early welcome to Texas. We're looking forward to your career here at the 40 Acres. You can trade in your umbrella and raincoat, pile some Texas barbeque high on your plate and get to saying "ya'll". Oh yeah, don't delay in getting a pair of cowboy boots.