John Calipari and the UK coaching staff are currently focused on laying the foundation for Kentucky’s 2021 recruiting class, but that’s not stopping them from penciling in some of their favorite prospects in the class 2022, as well.
One of Kentucky’s early top targets? 2022 five-star point guard Jaden Bradley
Bradley, the No. 7 overall prospect in ESPN’s player rankings and a consensus top-two point guard in his class, holds early offers from the likes of Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Louisville, with Kentucky also expected to pull the trigger this summer.
This week, the 6-foot-2 point guard joined KSR’s Sources Say Podcast to break down his game, the latest in his recruitment, his thoughts on the Kentucky basketball program, and more.
Check out the entire interview below:
How are you hanging in there with all this stuff going on? How are you training?
Just trying to stay safe, get out and do some things without getting sick and stuff. I have a place I can hoop a little bit, stay in shape.
You’re a consensus top-15 prospect, but ranked as high as No. 7 in the ESPN rankings. Where do you think you stand compared to your peers in the class of 2022?
I think it’s an honor just to be a part of the 2022 class, it’s a great class. Just to be a part of the ESPN rankings. In terms of where I should be, the spot I’m at now is a good spot, but I’m still trying to get to the No. 1 spot.
What separates your game? What do you think you bring to the table as a player?
What separates my game is that I’m a pass-first point guard, I like to get my teammates involved. I try doing the little things that get unnoticed sometimes like diving on the floor, picking up a teammate, little things that go a long way.
Everybody talks about the reclass option for high-profile recruits, we just saw one this week with Moussa Cisse making the jump from 2021 to 2020. Is that something you’re considering or are you set on 2022?
I talked about it with my parents. That could be an option, but right now I haven’t looked that deeply into it.
We’ve heard you’re close with Skyy Clark and have talked about possibly playing together at the next level. I know Kentucky in particular is interested in you both playing together. Is that something you’re thinking about, playing with Skyy?
Oh yeah, me and Skyy, we talk all the time. I played against him at the MSHTV [Camp], USA [Basketball Camp] we played against and with each other. I think he’s a great point guard. It’d be a great duo if we could possibly play together at college.
What about his game intrigues you? How do you think you guys would play together?
He’s a very good point guard, he can shoot it very well, defend well. He’s an unselfish guard, and I love playing with unselfish guards. It wouldn’t matter who scored all the points. I think he’s very competitive, so we would just want to win at the end of the day.
Is there anyone else you’d be interested in playing with at the next level?
Not off the top of my head right now.
What is Kentucky’s pitch to you? What level of communication do they have with you?
Right now, since I’m in the class of 2022, they can’t talk to me on the phone or text me, so they get in contact with my dad. Coach Joel Justus contacts my dad weekly, just checks in on me and sees how I’m doing.
What is Joel Justus’ relationship with your dad?
They have a great relationship. I’ve been up there one time on an unofficial visit, it was the Blue and White scrimmage. He came to watch one of my practices, tells me to get better every day, continue working on my game. Said I fit in their program and their system, hopes I can be there.
There was some buzz that UK was gearing up to offer both you and some other 2022 prospects this summer. Are you still anticipating that offer this summer?
With everything going on, I think if we’re able to get back to AAU and stuff this summer, I keep working on my game and continue to showcase my talent, I think that’d be a possibility that I get an offer.
Outside of Kentucky, what other schools are recruiting you the hardest right now? Who do you think has prioritized you the most?
Recruitment wise, I have a lot of offers, they’ve all been in contact a lot. They all have me high on their board, want me to come. It’s not any specific schools [recruiting me the hardest] because I don’t want to leave anybody out, but recently I’ve gotten offers from UNC, Kansas, and Louisville. Those are the latest three.
Outside of basketball, who is Jaden Bradley off the floor? What do you like to do when you’re not playing basketball?
When I’m not playing basketball, I like to hang out with my friends and my family, sit down on the couch and watch a movie. And I actually play the saxophone, I do that at school, at home, and I go to practice and stuff. It’s pretty cool.
Is that the one thing you think no one knows about you? Playing the saxophone?
I think playing the saxophone is probably the one thing people really don’t know about me. something a lot of people I’m in the school band, we do concerts like three times a year.
We’re obviously a while away, but have you thought at all about when you’d like to make a decision down the road?
Yeah, we’re a long time away. Hopefully I can sit down with my family and kind of dial it down and hopefully make a decision.
Can you describe what a Kentucky visit is like behind the scenes?
Oh, man. It’s a great feeling. Family atmosphere. It was unbelievable, even the Blue and White scrimmage felt like a real game. No one was going through the motions, they were competing and going at guys, trying to get each other better and get ready for the season. I like what Coach Cal does with his guys in trying to get them ready for the next level.
Is there a player you modeled your game after or idolized growing up that you wanted to play or be like at the next level?
NBA wise, Paul George, I looked up to Paul George growing up. He was a great leader in Indiana, just a great player. When he got hurt, nobody expected him to come back the way he did. He came back. He’s a two-way defender, and I like that about him. Not a lot of people take pride in their defense, he just loves to compete.
Is there a point guard you think your game closely relates to or you modeled your game after?
In middle school, a lot of people compared me to Penny Hardaway. Some people say I play like Penny Hardaway, but I didn’t grow up watching him, so I don’t really see the comparison.
Is there anything in particular you think you need to work on to improve your game? What would you say your biggest strengths and weaknesses are?
I think there’s a lot of room for me to grow, I need to work on my game a ton. Just the little things like boxing out, defensive rotations, diving on loose balls, stuff like that. Shooting more, getting more consistent, knocking down open shots, expanding my range, finishing through contact, ball-handling, all of those things.
My biggest strengths are that I’m a downhill, fast-pace point guard, pass-first. I can score from all three levels.
Have you heard anything new about if and when the AAU season is set to return? If the season does start back up, who will you be playing with?
Hopefully we’re able to get back and get the AAU season up and running. This year I’ll be running with CP3 if AAU does come back.
You can listen to the interview, along with the rest of this week’s Sources Say Podcast, below:
While you’re at it, check out some of Jaden Bradley’s highlights here: