Michael Bradley, the former Connecticut forward who famously gave up his scholarship to make room for star recruit Andre Drummond (and caused a minor ruckus in doing so, thanks to Connecticut's NCAA-imposed scholarship reductions), has finally found a place to play his basketball in 2012-13: Vincennes University, a two-year junior college in Indiana.
The school announced Bradley's addition in a release this weekend. The 6-foot-10 forward initially hoped to transfer to Western Kentucky and was enrolled in summer classes at the school, but was unable to secure immediate eligibility despite an NCAA appeal. Bradley would have had to sit out a third straight year -- an ankle injury cost him his 2011-12 season -- before competing for the Hilltoppers.
Instead, Bradley will take his talents to Vincennes, and Trailblazers coach Todd Franklin can barely hide his excitement:
“He’s a big, talented guy, and he has a vast amount of potential,” Franklin said in the release. “We hope he can get us over the hump (to be a serious contender for a NJCAA Div. I National Championship at Hutchinson, KS).” [...] When you can add a 6-10 Big East (Conference) transfer who doesn’t bring a lot of baggage and was a high test score player, you have to feel fortunate.”
Bradley was a high-Division I recruit who considered Georgia and Memphis as well as Connecticut during his initial recruiting run. The thought of him playing for the Hilltoppers in the Sun Belt conference -- where elite big men are rare commodities -- was intriguing enough. At Vincennes, assuming he can shake off the cobwebs caused by two years of game-inaction, Bradley could dominate -- all the while preparing for a move back to Division-I hoops down the line.
When that move could come will be interesting to watch. The NCAA typically requires athletes at two-year institutions to graduate before they can become immediately eligible to transfer. But if Bradley has enough preexisting credits to graduate from Vincennes within one year, could he theoretically be ready to move after just one season? Chances are this won't matter, as Bradley may never be a high-impact player at the highest levels of the sport. But he still has time to get there.
We'll have to wait and see what Bradley, and then the NCAA, decide. In the meantime, fans of the Vincennes Trailblazers -- and yes, they're out there -- have an unexpected hoops treat on their hands.