A day after Duke landed its second five-star recruit for the Class of 2016 in Utah point guard Frank Jackson, its in-state rival landed their own five-star/four star prospect, receiving a verbal commitment from highly touted center Tony Bradley. The 6-10 big at Barlow (FL) Senior High, who tweeted out his decision wednesday night, become’s the first pledge in the Tar Heel’s 2016 class.
More info on the commitment from The Fayetteville Observer:
North Carolina received some good news late Wednesday night when four-star post player Tony Bradley announced via Twitter that he was going to play for the Tar Heels.
The 6-foot-10, 230-pounder from Bartow, Florida, is the 26th-ranked player in the class of 2016, according to ESPN. He had offers from several schools, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Kansas, but the Tar Heels, with Hubert Davis as the lead recruiter, were the clear favorites.
Bradley’s visit to Chapel Hill in March was the only official one he took anywhere.
The decision eases a cold spell for North Carolina on the recruiting trail.
The 2015 class was a lean one, consisting of Luke Maye, a forward from outside of Charlotte, and Kenny Williams, a shooting guard from Virginia who had originally agreed to play at Virginia Commonwealth. Neither player was considered a top-50 recruit.
While the Tar Heels were – and still are – in the mix for a few big names in the 2016 and 2017 classes, the only commitment from those groups is 2017 shooting guard Jalek Felton, the nephew of former North Carolina point guard Raymond Felton.
The main reason for the struggles is the five-year long saga of NCAA investigations into academic fraud at the university. In recent years, the scandal has inched toward the basketball program. While it’s unclear whether the program will face sanctions when the ordeal finally concludes sometime next year, it has been a concern for potential recruits.
Bradley was no exception.
“I followed it very closely,” Bradley told the Fayetteville Observer at July’s Nike EYBL Finals at Peach Jam. “My dad talks to them a lot, just to keep us updated on what’s going on.”
Judging by his decision Wednesday night, he must like something he heard.