Bradley a positive influence on NBA hopeful friend

Bradley a positive influence on NBA hopeful friend
July 24, 2013, 12:30 pm
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Avery Bradley isn’t one of the “new guys” anymore.

At 22 years old, he is entering his fourth NBA season, has more pro experience than nearly half his teammates, and is the second-longest tenured Celtic behind only Rajon Rondo.

The once-shy guard will be one of the leaders next season, and he is already sharing his knowledge beyond Boston. 

Bradley met Abdul Gaddy as a sixth grader in Washington state. With easygoing personalities and a mutual passion for basketball, it was easy for them to click. They shared the backcourt in AAU competition and at Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma before Bradley transferred to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas. 

“He’s just a normal guy,” said Gaddy, 21. “He’s laid back, super down to earth, he likes to chill a lot. We’re alike in a lot of ways.”

Bradley went on to play college ball at the University of Texas, Gaddy stayed in state at the University of Washington. In 2010 Bradley entered the NBA Draft after one season of collegiate play and was selected by the Celtics with the 19th overall pick. Gaddy remained in school as his best friend began establishing himself in the pros.

This June Gaddy looked to join Bradley in the NBA following his senior season with the Huskies. He went undrafted but joined the Charlotte Bobcats summer league team, aiming to make his mark in Las Vegas. Gaddy approached the games with a proven mentality thanks to his close relationship with Bradley.

“He says continue to work hard, make sure you are as professional as possible, make sure you’re ready at all times, and make sure you always have fun,” said Gaddy. “That’s the main thing he says, some people lose that.”

Gaddy averaged 5.3 points and 2.3 assists for the Bobcats, including a 17-point performance this summer. Should he earn a spot on an NBA roster, he already knows keys to success from his no-nonsense, gritty friend. 

“(From watching Avery I learned) to play hard every night because that’s the hardest thing,” he said. “You’ve got 82 games and you could play three in a row on the road, and he plays hard every night, just throwing his body constantly, so he makes sure he takes care of his body as well.”
 
After becoming friends on the basketball court, Gaddy looks forward to potentially facing Bradley in the pros. He expects Bradley to take his game to another level next season and showcase skills beyond his notable defense. Bradley averaged 9.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 50 games last season following his return from double-shoulder surgery.

“He’s 22, turning 23 (on November 26), but it’s about to be his fourth year so he’s a vet,” said Gaddy. “This is part of his prime now, so now he knows what he has to do to make that leap toward where he can be an All-Star. … I think he can be more of a scorer. He’s already established himself as a defender and that’s his strength, but I think he’ll score more.”

Bradley’s role will increase with the departures of veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, and as Rondo works his way back from an ACL injury. He will also be a source of NBA know-how and wisdom on a young Celtics squad. He already has plenty of experience being a positive voice in the game.  

“He tells me how everything goes and he’s always been a good influence when it comes to basketball,” said Gaddy. “We talk on a consistent basis, that’s one of my best friends. Not even talking about basketball, talking about life in general, he’s always been like a big brother to me. He’s been a good mentor.”