Every university has transfer athletes, but for men’s basketball player Jalen Bradley, ORU isn’t the first school he’s transferred to. He’s been an Omaha Maverick, Northeast Community College Hawk and now he is a Golden Eagle.
“I went to Omaha [from 2012-2014] because it was close to home, and they offered me a scholarship. It was the only Div. I offer I had out of high school, and I felt comfortable going there,” Bradley said. “But I had an injury that ended my redshirt freshman season. So I left because I was looking for more immediate playing time and a bigger role on the team.”
Bradley went to Northeast Community College for the 2014-2015 season rather than going to another university.
“I would’ve had to sit out again if I had transferred to another Div. I university,” said Bradley. “So instead of sitting out, I went to a junior college in my hometown that I was very familiar with.”
He averaged 17.4 points per game and shot 42 percent from beyond the arc while attending Northeast. In January, he scored 42 points against nationally-ranked Indian Hills, which earned him the national player of the week title.
“At Northeast, I had known them since fifth grade. I would go to the gym and play with them all throughout high school,” Bradley said. “When I decided to go there, they told me I had a spot on the team. Them giving me a chance to play at home one last time was pretty cool.”
Bradley said having the opportunity to play at Omaha and Northeast was beneficial, but he’s enjoying being at ORU.
“I learned a lot at both schools before this and I enjoyed my time at both of the schools, but I really like ORU,” he said. “The teachers know the students on a personal level. I grew up in a small town, and this school is a small school so that fits what I’m comfortable with. Just on my visit, I connected with the team a lot and with the coaches. Just during the recruiting process, I liked what I saw, and I heard, and it’s been true so far.”
The men’s basketball team is looking to earn the first conference title since 2012 and Bradley, who is no stranger to the Summit League, will play a large part in getting the team there.
He shot 17 points from the field, went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and posted four assists in the team’s exhibition game against Rogers State University Monday night.
Bradley continued by saying how appreciative he is of the basketball coaching staff.
“I would say the coaches here really care a lot. That’s big. I’m not saying other schools don’t, but Coach Brown and Coach Sutton, they’re the ones that recruited me, and they take care of me.”
Assistant coach Kyan Brown spoke highly of Bradley’s work ethic.
“One thing he impressed us with is his toughness,” said Brown. “He’s a tough kid that works on his game constantly. Whether it’s with the team or by himself, he’s always in the gym. I’ll walk down the hall, hear some balls bouncing, come around the corner and 75 to 80 percent of the time, it’s him down here by himself in a full sweat. We love the fact he’s competitive, he’s tough, wants to get better and he’s very coachable.”
Head coach Scott Sutton has also enjoyed having Bradley on the roster this year.
“You can’t say he’s strictly a shooter, because he knows how to play,” Sutton said. “He gets to the basket, and he passes extremely well. He’s a team-first guy because he likes to pass. He likes to score, obviously, but he likes to get the assists too. He’s been a joy to coach, that’s for sure.”
Bradley is a junior business administration major, but he said playing the game is his favorite part of the day.
“I enjoy playing the game. It’s my favorite thing to do on a daily basis; just being able to do something not a lot of people get the opportunity to do. It makes me thankful.”
Additional photos courtesy of University of Nebraska Omaha and Jeromy Vauble.