Updated: Jul 9, 2020
As the ninth most populated state, North Carolina produces quite a bit of basketball talent, with almost three dozen players from the Tar Heel state currently active on NBA rosters. This makes the early accomplishments of Cannon School sophomore guard Jaden Bradley so noteworthy, considering that he was seen as a near unanimous choice as the state player of the year.
Bradley and top ranked prospect in the 2022 class, Emoni Bates, were the only sophomores this year to win both Gatorade Player of the Year and MaxPreps Player of the Year for their states. He also did this while leading Cannon to its first state title since 2006 — Bradley poured in 27 points in the 71-69 win over Charlotte Latin in the Class 4A Independent Schools final.
During his sophomore campaign, Bradley finished with averages of 23.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 2.9 steals, leading Cannon to a 27-6 record along the way. While he is originally from Rochester, New York, he has really warmed up to North Carolina and it seems the local schools are reciprocating, to say the least. His most recent offers are from blue bloods: UNC and Kansas. He’s already accumulated around 20 offers, overall, including some high profile ACC, Big 12 and SEC programs.
Currently viewed as one of the top point guards in the class of 2022, Bradley is great both on and off-ball, an accomplished slasher who is creative in finding space and finishing around the basket. With a developing jump shot, he can create off the dribble and has impressive strength on drives. He also displays confidence as a handler and advanced passing acumen, along with defensive awareness that becomes key when moving up to the next level.
In this interview, Bradley talks about his family background, his move to North Carolina, his views on North Carolina’s most famous basketball player, his development, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Jaden Bradley, from Concord, North Carolina:
PI: Congrats on Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina and the State Championship. You’re the only Sophomore at least since 2000 to win that award in North Carolina, and join recent winners Wendell Moore (Duke), Coby White x2 (Chicago Bulls), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), and Dennis Smith (New York Knicks). That’s a high-level group. How does that make you feel to join them?
Jaden Bradley: Winning that award, I’m extremely blessed to join a group like that. I want to thank my coaches, teammates, and parents for putting me in a position to be successful. Every night, I was put into a position to be great on the court and off the court.
PI: Talk about your background. Where are you from?
JB: My family is originally from Rochester, New York. We moved to North Carolina about five years ago. I went to a school called Winkler, and after a year there, I transferred to Cannon, which is an awesome place. I have two older brothers. One is a senior in college who played at Faulkner University (An NAIA school in Montgomery, Alabama). Nathan Bradley. They were pretty good. They made it to the tournament in Kansas City, but with the coronavirus, they weren’t able to finish it off. This was his last year unfortunately. He went to high school in Rochester at Bishop Kearney.
PI: What’s your family like?
JB: My dad is in law enforcement. My mom does project management. They are pretty fun people to be around and awesome parents. My dad trains me and works me out a lot. He teaches me a lot of stuff on the court and off the court helping me be a better person.
PI: Who’s the funny one in the family?
JB: Probably me.
PI: What was your transition like moving from Rochester to Concord?
JB: Very different places. At first, when I heard the news that we were moving to Charlotte, I wasn’t too happy about it. My family and my cousins lived right across the street, so everyone was in one area. At first, the move was just okay. I knew a couple people. After a couple of years went by, I started getting more comfortable, made more friends, and had a better opportunity down here.
PI: How did your parents break the news to you that you were moving?
JB: We were all sitting in the house when they came back from work. They brought us into their room and told us right there. At first, I thought they were just kidding and playing around to be funny. They were serious. My dad had a job transfer, but it also was a good opportunity for me. My brother was a senior in high school, so he was getting ready to go to college anyway. I was the only kid going to North Carolina.
PI: What do you miss most about Rochester?
JB: Probably the family environment. Everybody knew each other. We all lived in the same general area. I sometimes go back in summer, once or twice a year to see my family.
PI: What have you enjoyed the most about being in North Carolina?
JB: Creating new friendships and new bonds. The teammates that I have push me and I’m happy to have those guys in my life.
PI: Your high school coach, Coach Che Roth calls you “Silk.” Tell us the story of how that nickname came about.
JB: It came up in open gym. We were playing pickup, 5-on-5, getting up and down the court. I think he calls me “Silk” because of the way I was moving up and down the court. I guess it looked effortless. It just stuck from there. I rarely get to hear Jaden from him anymore. I made my teammates call me Jaden though.
Jaden’s high school coach, Coach Che Roth later told Pro Insight that this came about when Jaden was only in 6th grade making it look easy while playing against Division 1 players and former pros that were back in Charlotte.
PI: Peyton Manning made a video congratulating you on your Gatorade Player of the Year award. What were your emotions when you saw that?
JB: I was shocked. When I first saw the video, there was a lot going through my head after just getting named Gatorade Player of the year and knowing that my hard work paid off.
PI: Do you play football or any other sports?