Although Case Western Reserve University's Brandon Bradford's trip from his hometown of Detroit is less than 200 miles, he has traveled many more miles since arriving in Cleveland in 2004 to play basketball for the Spartans.
Bradford and his teammates log just under 5,000 miles a year in University Athletic Association travel alone. Add to that a nearly 8,000-mile roundtrip to South America in August and a 2,000-mile roundtrip to Tampa Bay, Florida last month, and one could say Spartan basketball has enabled him to see the world.
"I am definitely going to take it all in my last time around [the UAA] and enjoy myself because once this year is over it will be all work and no play," explained Bradford. "I went back to my high school over the holidays for an alumni game and talked to guys who played at the Division I level. They don't get to travel as much as I have been able to here and enjoy the same experiences. I really feel fortunate to be here and be part of this program."
The Detroit Country Day products travel numbers aren't the only interesting ones; Bradford has put up some impressive stats on the court. To date, he has 302 career assists, which currently places him second on the all-time list at Case. Jim Fox is the leader with 403 and in order to reach the top, he would have to average 9.1 assists per game in the remaining 11 contests.
"It [career assists record] was something I was shooting for, but missing a few games may have made it unreachable," Bradford said. "I put in a lot of work, but at the end of the day, I just want to help the team win."
Another goal of Bradford's is to record a triple-double, which he was close to accomplishing in both games at the Bill Sudeck Holiday Tournament this year. He had eight rebounds, seven assists and 17 points in a win over Adrian College and nine rebounds, seven assists and nine points in the championship victory over Catholic University. He was named the Tournament MVP.
"When you pass the ball to someone and they get an easy bucket, you feel like you scored yourself," Bradford said. "There is nothing better than getting a big guy an easy layup and then him tell you 'good pass' coming up the court. I don't really get caught up in scoring or feeling like I have to do it all myself."
One thing Bradford has taken upon himself with the help of some great resources at Case Western Reserve is preparing for life after collegiate basketball. Bradford, who first thought he would like to go into investment banking, changed his plans after an internship with National City Bank his sophomore year.
"I worked in their investment real estate department," Bradford said. "It was ok, but I did not think it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I switched over to marketing because I wanted to interact with customers more. I am more of a people person."
Bradford enjoyed his classes more as a finance and marketing major and was able to get an internship his junior year at Lubrizol Corporation in their Global Communication Department.
"I loved it, it was day and night from my banking experience," Bradford said. "There was a lot of interaction and they allowed me get experience in multiple areas."
Due to the fact Bradford will finish up his undergraduate requirements next semester [Fall], he will be able to get one more internship under his belt before entering the professional world. He is currently talking to McMaster-Carr, a worldwide industrial supply company, about a management position.
The UAA is made up of teams in Atlanta [Emory University], Boston [Brandeis University], Chicago [University of Chicago], New York City [New York University], Pittsburgh [Carnegie Mellon University], Rochester [University of Rochester] and St. Louis [Washington University]. The Spartans fly over 3,000 miles and bus over 1,200 miles a year during conference play alone. That does not include their non-conference travel and also their travel [game, practice, etc.] once they get to UAA cities.
The UAA currently boasts the No. 1, 2 and 4-ranked men's basketball teams in NCAA Division III. Rochester is top-ranked, followed by No. 2 Brandeis and No. 4 Washington (Mo.) University. The Spartans play each one of them twice [home and away]. The UAA had four teams in the NCAA tournament a year ago, led by national runner-up Washington. Rochester won the national championship in 1990.
"We have knocked off some teams in the UAA before—it is not impossible," explained Bradford. "We have meshed together well this year and I think we have a chance to pull an upset or two. I don't think you can just cross it off as six losses against those three teams. We will leave it all out there."
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