Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Student Athlete of the Week: Matt Bradley
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published January 14, 2021

November 30, 2020; Berkeley, California, USA; Men’s Basketball: California Golden Bears vs Nicholls State Colonels at Haas Pavilion; Matt Bradley (Photo credit: Kelley L Cox/KLC fotos)

Junior guard Matt Bradley, has been a key contributor to the University of California Golden Bears men’s basketball team. In a span of nine games, Bradley has averaged 17.8 points and 4.7 rebounds.

Coming into the 2020-2021 season, he wanted to improve his defense.

“I’ve been focused on things outside of scoring, which I feel like that’s what the team needs,” Bradley said. “My main focus has been finding my teammates in scoring areas, working on the defense side of the ball … shooting is what I’m known for and I’m just gonna continue to keep working on that as well.”

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Golden Bears coach Mark Fox also wants him to develop his defending skills; he lauded Bradley for his competitive spirit.

“We’re pushing [Bradley] to a complete player, let’s not just be a scorer because we know you’re gonna do that,” Fox said. “Let’s work on being a lockdown defender, let’s work on just being as complete and as versatile of a player as you can be, yet not get away from your strengths.”

Known for his range of shots, Bradley earned a spot on the preseason media All-Conference First Team and found a sport on the 2021 Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award Watchlist.

Bradley put on a strong defensive performance against the Arizona State Sun Devils on December 3 by making season high of eight rebounds and two steals.

Although Bradley has not seen gameplay since January 2 due to injury, he has created a strong career at Cal. During his sophomore year, Bradley averages 17.5 points 4.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. He led the team in scoring and shot at 43 percent from the field. He also shot at 86.8 percent in free throws, pacing the team.

The Pac-12 conference selected him as Player of the Week on two different occasions. Bradley was also on the All-Pac-12 Second Team. As a freshman, he broke the freshman three-pointer percentage record by shooting at 47.2 percent. That also pegged him at third in program’s single season record.

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Back in October, one of the Cal players tested positive for COVID-19 and team workouts were put on hold. The team and coaches stayed connected although they could not see each other physically. Bradley witnessed the seriousness of the virus through that experience.

He kept in contact with others through social media and found ways to exercise to stay in a good mental space while in quarantine.

“Thank God for technology and what it is now,” Bradley said. “I stayed in my room … and I was just connecting with people over social media. I have a bicycle, I was riding my bike in the hills of Berkeley around nobody.”

Bradley is a Legal Studies major. Learning over Zoom classes has been difficult, but the school offers him resources to thrive as a student.

“They’ve offered a lot of resources as far as tutoring as far as people helping me with time management,” Bradley said. “They offer counseling, which has helped me a lot … they definitely want us to succeed.”

Categories: Basketball | Education | Sports
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