North Carolina

UNC’s Tony Bradley wants first-round guarantee to stay in NBA Draft

North Carolina’s Tony Bradley shoots during the NBA draft basketball combine Thursday in Chicago.
North Carolina’s Tony Bradley shoots during the NBA draft basketball combine Thursday in Chicago. AP

North Carolina hasn’t had a one-and-done player since Brandan Wright in 2007.

But here comes Tony Bradley, the 6-10 freshman from Bartow, Florida, who could become a first-round pick in the June 22 NBA draft after one season with the Tar Heels where he averaged 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds on an NCAA championship team. He declared for the draft last month but has yet to hire an agent, which gives him the option of returning to UNC for his sophomore season.

“I’m getting late-first round, early second round right now,” Bradley said Thursday at Quest Multisport Complex of the feedback he’s getting from NBA teams.

He’s met here with Portland, Oklahoma City, Boston, Milwaukee, Detroit, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets.

Asked what kind of guarantee he would need to remain in the draft, Bradley said, “First round.”

VIDEO: Rep. David Lewis introduced House Joint Resolution 921 during a joint session of the N.C. House and Senate to honor the Tar Heels Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The resolution stated Tony Bradley and Theo Pinson are required to follow the decision

Bradley is currently projected at No. 35 by DraftExpress.com, but ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla said he believes Bradley has first-round potential.

“He has major upside because of his size, ability to run, lower body strength, rebounding instincts, great hands,” Fraschilla said. “To me he’s a first-round pick who could move up before June 22. He was hidden in plain sight this year because of the experience of (Kennedy) Meeks and (Isaiah) Hicks.”

Hicks, who is here with Bradley, Meeks and junior Justin Jackson, believes Bradley could be a major asset in the NBA.

“I feel like Tony would bring that length and of course I feel like when he gets to the team camps and really knows what’s going on, he’ll provide energy and help on offense,” Hicks said. “I feel like with his big body he can protect the rim a lot at the next level. He has a like a 7-4 wingspan. With him, I feel like he’s just scratching the surface.”

Bradley is still consulting with North Carolina coach Roy Williams on his decision.

“He’s just saying he’s supportive of me whatever decision I make,” he said. “So I told him the NBA is one of my goals and dreams so he’s very supportive.”

As for becoming North Carolina’s first one-and-done in a decade, he likes the idea.

“That would be pretty cool if I end up leaving, but I never thought about that,” he said.

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