Friday, November 21, 2014 · 7:07 p.m.

UConn transfer Michael Bradley closing in on decision

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Chattanooga native and Tyner Academy graduate Michael Bradley visited Western Kentucky last weekend after being granted a release by Connecticut to transfer to a new college. (Photo: Billy Weeks)

A little over a week since being granted a release from his scholarship by Connecticut, Chattanooga native Michael Bradley is narrowing his choices for his future college basketball home.

Bradley “really liked Western Kentucky” after visiting the school’s Bowling Green, Ken., campus over the weekend, according to Carl Willis, a parental figure to Bradley since he was a young teenager. 

They definitely want Big Mike up there and he liked what he saw,” Willis said. “Other schools have contacted him, but no other visits have been arranged.”

Willis is the regional vice president for East Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, a residential care facility for children from families in crisis. Bradley spent six years living in Chattanooga’s TBCH after he entered as an 11 year old.

Bradley, a graduate of Tyner Academy, has indicated that he’d like to make a decision fairly soon, possibly by the end of this week, according to Willis. As reported by Nooga.com last week, one reason for his transfer request is to be closer to a grandmother who is battling cancer.

Other schools still pursuing Bradley include VCU, Belmont and Stetson, according to Chip Smith, head coach of the Tennessee Tigers, Bradley’s former AAU team. Smith also stated that UConn has made attempts to re-recruit Bradley back to Storrs.  

Bradley was quoted by The Connecticut Post on Tuesday saying, “Coach Calhoun has been working very hard to keep me at UConn and see if I can still visit my grandma. If that can’t happen, though, then I’d have to look at going somewhere else.”

VCU was a finalist for Bradley’s services following his senior year at Tyner. Belmont was also involved in his original recruitment, while Stetson is coached by Casey Alexander, a former Belmont assistant.

Bradley was enrolled at UConn the past two seasons, but never played a minute for the Huskies. The 6-foot-10 power forward redshirted his freshman season and missed his entire sophomore season after fracturing his ankle in October.

Bradley, 19, hopes to gain instant eligibility next season wherever he lands. The NCAA mandates transfers sit out one season, but two loopholes may allow him to play immediately. 

By moving closer to home to be near to his grandmother, Bradley can apply for a hardship waiver, which could allow him to play right away. Additionally, with UConn facing a 2012-13 postseason ban for poor Academic Progress Rate scores, players transferring, such as Alex Oriakhi, a recent Missouri commitment, might gain immediate eligibility next season.

UTC has expressed interest in Bradley, but appears an unlikely destination. 

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