Friday, August 11, 2006
Bradley off to Spain
Former Burncoat star signs with Bruesa
By Bill Doyle
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
Former Burncoat High star Michael Bradley signed to play professional basketball in Spain this coming season for the chance to play more than he did the past two years with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Bradley, 27, signed a one-year deal Tuesday to play for Bruesa in San Sebastian in the top league in Spain.
“I wanted to get back to the game I love,” Bradley said last night from his home in Kentucky. “The last two years have been really hard sitting on the bench and watching guys you feel you can play ahead of. Sitting in general takes a toll on you.”
Bradley, 27, averaged 1.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 46 games for the Philadelphia 76ers last season after injuring his knee in the preseason. Injuries slowed Bradley for much of his time in the NBA, and he averaged 2.8 points and 3.4 rebounds for five teams over five seasons.
Bradley’s NBA best season was his second when he averaged 5 points and 6.1 rebounds in 67 games for the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors selected Bradley out of Villanova with the 17th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.
Bradley received no NBA contract offers after his contract expired on July 1 and decided to accept the promise to play a lot in Spain over trying to catch on with an NBA team when training camps open in October.
Bradley picked the offer from Bruesa over ones from teams in Lithuania and Italy. He said his tax-free income will be similar to what he received last season in the NBA, when he earned $771,123. The team will provide him with a car and an apartment.
The 6-foot-10 forward speaks little Spanish, and his coach speaks little English.
“They said don’t expect to go into his office and have a nice conversation with him,” Bradley said, “but he will be able to communicate on the court.”
Bradley should be used to that. He didn’t exactly have any heart-to-heart talks with Jim O’Brien or Maurice Cheeks, his coaches in Philadelphia the last two seasons.
Fortunately for Bradley, his wife, Ellen, was a Spanish major at Villanova.
“She was on the phone the other day with the Spanish agent and the coach asking all the non-basketball questions,” Bradley said.
The Bradleys are scheduled fly to Spain in the next week to 10 days with their 9-month-old daughter, Taylor Rose. Bradley has been to Europe twice — to Greece for a college all-star tournament and to Switzerland for a basketball camp he worked — but never to Spain.
“I’ve been on the Internet and Google like crazy,” Bradley said, “trying to find all the information I can about the area will be living in.”
San Sebastian is a resort, beach town located in northern Spain, just 12 miles from southern France.
Spanish training camps open Aug. 15, and the regular season begins Sept. 30. Teams play 36 games, but only once a week.
“By playing over there and playing well, I think I’m going to open up a lot more options,” he said.
Bradley could remain in Spain for the 2007-2008 season, return to the NBA or sign with another team elsewhere in Europe.
Bradley left Villanova after his junior year to play in the NBA, but he earned his degree in liberal arts this May.
“We had our daughter’s baptism and my graduation on the same weekend,” he said.
Former Celtic guard Jiri Welsch recently signed to play for another team in the Spanish League.