Orlando Pre-Draft Camp: Day One|
May 30, 2007
While Bradshaw generated some significant buzz last summer playing for the New Zealand national team, a sub-par Portsmouth camp and a discouraging start to Orlando may be putting a halt to any immediate NBA plans. Bradshaw is a player known for being able to step outside, and simply hasn’t come close to knocking down anything here in Orlando. He is missing shots, and missing them badly. There is plenty of time for him to turn things around, but Bradshaw appears to be pressing at the moment. He needs to find a way to help himself out in other areas of the game, like defensively or on the glass.
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Portsmouth Invitational Tournament: Day One
April 5, 2007
Craig Bradshaw came to Portsmouth with the right mentality, to play more assertively than he’d shown at Winthrop, but he failed in the execution, making a lot of foolish decisions with the ball and not playing one of his better games. Bradshaw did manage to score 13 points on the game, with three of his field goals coming in the way of long spot-up two-pointers, two coming from easy scores around the basket, and one coming on a putback offensive rebound. For most of the rest of his attempts, Bradshaw put up ill-advised, contested fade-away jump shots and showed a very poor touch around the rim on his post moves, not what we’re accustomed to seeing from him. At times he looked like he was feeling his way around in the post, getting a good feel for how his defender was defending him, but he went on to throw up poor missed shot attempts.
To Bradshaw’s credit, he really did a good job trying to step out of his normal comfort zone by trying to use his scoring abilities more frequently in the game, but he was just plagued by poor decision-making in this game. He should continue to play with the same aggressiveness in the rest of the tournament, but just do a better job with taking his time in the post and not forcing the issue when he doesn’t have a good shot opportunity. He also would do himself well to focus on getting his feet beneath him on all his perimeter shot opportunities, not fading away or shooting with a hand in his face as he did frequently in this game. Bradshaw’s a very skilled scorer for a big man, and if he can find the right balance of using his scoring abilities and being aggressive here at the camp, he could help himself come up in late second-round pick discussions.
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NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 32, Sunday)--Stock Down/Neutral
March 19, 2007
After a fantastic performance against Notre Dame on Friday, Bradshaw had a chance to not only help Winthrop advance to the Sweet 16, but also to improve his draft stock even more. Unfortunately for the senior, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. The versatile post player was kept in check from the opening tip to the final buzzer as the Eagles fell to Oregon.
Bradshaw, a player who is used to getting double digit field goal attempts, only shot the ball 6 times thanks to great defense from the Ducks. Whenever the ball would go in low to him on the block, Oregon would send down a second player to hound him. This added pressure resulted in several turnovers, a couple of traveling violations, and one blocked shot. Unable to get any good looks in the post, Bradshaw tried stepping out a few times, only to be met with more pressure from Oregon, whose speed was simply too much for him to handle. He was able to knock down one three pointer, but missed two other forced shots from beyond the arc.
Defensively, Bradshaw did not provide much of a presence in the lane for the Eagles. The majority of Oregon’s shots were from the perimeter, but when they did opt to drive, there was usually a clear path to the basket as Bradshaw did a poor job rotating over to provide help defense. As a versatile big man providing help defense on speedy drivers is something that Bradshaw is expected to provide, and he wasn’t able to.
This game was more characteristic of what we’ve been used to seeing from Bradshaw, who has had an underachieving senior year. This game was a good opportunity to build on the momentum he picked up in round one of the NCAA Tournament, but instead he came crashing back down. This isn’t to say that Bradshaw should be discounted as a future pro, he has the tools and versatility to be considered as a second round pick, but he will need solid showings at Portsmouth and the pre-draft camp first.
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NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (round of 64, Friday games)--Stock Up
March 17, 2007
Craig Bradshaw had a monster game down low in helping Winthrop knock off Notre Dame, for the Eagles’ first ever NCAA Tournament victory. The agile power forward put on quite the display of post moves to go along with his solid shooting from the outside.
Even against a Notre Dame front court with more size than he would see on a typical night in the Big South, Bradshaw was able to go to work on the block, hitting 8 of 13 shots taken from inside the paint. His repertoire for the afternoon included a beautifully soft hook shot, a dizzying array of head fakes, and a lightning quick spin move, all of which he deployed with ease against the Irish. Bradshaw is one of the more active and quick low post players in this year’s tournament, showing a real fundamental flare when he has defenders on his back.
The appeal of Bradshaw and what has made him so important to Winthrop’s success this year is his athleticism and versatility. The big man runs the floor very well, routinely beating defenders down the floor for an easy dunk. He also has the ability to step out and shoot the basketball, which he did against the Irish, knocking down two shots from behind the arc. Bradshaw’s ability to step out and move around on offense also helped to spread Notre Dame’s defense, allowing for more penetration from wing players. This versatility also extends to Bradshaw’s passing game where he has developed into an above average passer for a post player. He did a good job recognizing double teams from Notre Dame and kicking out to teammates for open looks on the perimeter.
Prior to this game, Bradshaw had fallen on many draft boards due to his underwhelming senior season, despite having the size and the ability to play power forward at the next level. With this fantastic performance though, Bradshaw may have played himself right back into the mix of the NBA draft with the increased number of scouts watching the tournament games. Bradshaw has the make up for a modern power forward in that he is polished down low and is versatile enough to step to the outside when needed. We’ll have to see in the next round if this game was just an aberration in Bradshaw’s inconsistent senior season, or whether the lightbulb has really come on for him. He is scheduled to play in Portsmouth this April, along with his teammate Torrell Martin.
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NCAA Weekly Performers-- 3/8/2007, Part One
March 8, 2007
Standing 6’10 and weighing 242 pounds, Craig Bradshaw is a very skilled player, not one you’d usually find at a mid-major, under-the-radar school like Winthrop. Bradshaw is respectable athletically, though more fluid and mobile than explosive and impressive. He has many skills, especially on the offensive end of the court, but he shows them mostly in flashes, and at times seems to just go through the motions.
Bradshaw had two solid showings to close out Winthrop’s season, playing a large helping hand in defeats over UNC-Asheville and Virginia Military, securing them a seed in the NCAA tournament. Bradshaw did most of his work in the paint on offense, showing a nice array of moves including the basic hook shots, drop steps, and spin moves. He also showed an excellent propensity for using fakes to get his shot off, as well as a pretty nice touch around the rim.
When Bradshaw wasn’t working in the post, he was finding open space on the perimeter, where he has range on his shot out to the college three-point line. His shooting form and release speed are both decent, though he’s only shooting .316 from behind the arc on the season, his worst shooting year at Winthrop, down from .352 last season and .434 in his sophomore season. Bradshaw’s only really a spot-up shooter from behind the arc, not possessing the dribbling skills to create his own shot. Bradshaw’s passing skills are pretty solid, though, and he shows good court awareness at times, hitting cutters from the high post or kicking out to three-point shooters when he doesn’t have anything to work with in the low post.
At times Bradshaw does a good job using his athleticism and length on the offensive boards, but he’s often out of position due to his perimeter game and he doesn’t use much physicality when battling for rebounds. Bradshaw’s physicality is also concerning defensively, where he doesn’t do a good job defending in the post, giving up position too easily and not trying hard enough to force the opposition into a tough shot. His weakside awareness is also questionable, as he doesn’t always keep his eye on the ball and his man.
Bradshaw has the skills and size one would look for in an NBA power forward, and he’s shown flashes of high level performance, but he needs to show more consistency, and he should get a good chance to do so at the NBA pre-draft camps in April and June. He will also get the chance to go up against stiff competition in the frontcourt there, which he rarely sees at Winthrop. Heading into these camps, Bradshaw needs to be more persistent with his post game on offense, though he also could greatly benefit from getting his outside shooting efficiency back to where it was his sophomore year. He also needs to put in a more concerted effort on the defensive end, where he is very questionable right now. If Bradshaw can impress scouts at the pre-draft camps by playing with more consistency and tenacity, he has a good chance of putting himself in draft discussions for the second round, if he isn’t there already.
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FIBA World Championship Preview: Group B
August 12, 2006
Representing New Zealand for the third straight summer in a row (including the Olympics in Athens in 2004) while doubling as a student athlete at an emerging mid-major program at Winthrop University, Craig Bradshaw is gaining some much needed experienced and exposure in what could end up being a fairly prominent role in Japan.
According to the boxscores we’ve seen, the media reports we’ve read, and the way New Zealand’s roster is shaping up so far, Bradshaw could be one of the most intriguing young players at the World Championship to look out for. “Craig Bradshaw, he's the best player in the team at the moment," New Zealand captain Pero Cameron was quoted saying recently. "He's playing the best ball in the group. Craig's come back from Winthrop on a mission and he's taken the next step for us."
Outside of being a fixture on DraftExpress.com’s rankings and mock draft over the past year, though, Bradshaw has received very little attention outside of his native New Zealand. That is beginning to change now as he establishes himself on the International level this summer, scoring 25 points in a recent matchup against Andrew Bogut and Australia, and knocking down a clutch 3-pointer to win the game for the Kiwis over their arch-rivals in the process. With Sean Marks out of the picture and New Zealand desperate for a scoring presence from their frontcourt, Bradshaw has been praised repeatedly by his teammates and coaching staff for the production he’s given them and the work ethic he’s shown: “I know with Craig there's a lot of ice under water right now. We're only seeing the tip. This kid could be a tremendous basketball player,” remarked head coach Tab Baldwin.
Bradshaw has been displaying some intriguing tools for quite some time now as he heads into his fourth and final season at Winthrop University in the Big South Conference. He averaged 13 points and 6 rebounds this past season on an extremely talented team that took #2 seed Tennessee down to the final possession as a #15 seed in the first round of this year’s NCAA tournament. NBA scouts have quietly been trickling down to Rock Hill, South Carolina, to watch him both practice and play against the many high major college programs Winthrop fearlessly adds to its schedule every season. Head Coach Gregg Marshall has been quick to sing his praises to us on a number of occasions.
What they’ve seen is a 6-10 big man with nice mobility, good length and an intriguing package of skills from the perimeter. He runs the floor intelligently, has good hands and is quick off his feet to challenge a shot or put back an offensive rebound. Bradshaw can put the ball on the floor, spot up with range and solid touch from the college 3-point line and surprise you with some of the moves he makes on the perimeter at times.
He still needs to become better at using his size, body and length to score in the post, as well as improve his defense and rebounding skills, but the improvement he’s shown over the past few years has been steady and constant. Going from a player who had to basically beg his way onto a mid-major scholarship with a home-made highlight reel he made from New Zealand, it’s been both encouraging and inspiring to see the progress he’s making now.
If he continues to put up the type of numbers he’s had in a half a dozen or more friendlies over the past month for New Zealand, hovering around the 20 point mark more often than not and filling up the stat sheet consistently with double-doubles, Bradshaw will put himself in a great situation to have real NBA decision makers at every game he plays next year and possibly parlay that into being drafted next June.
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NCAA Tournament: Washington Bracket NBA Draft Prospects
March 12, 2006
Showing a solid frame, a sweet perimeter stroke and solid athletic ability, this New Zealand native is not the typical big man you'd expect to be playing for a low seeded team like Winthrop. Bradshaw is not the toughest or most consistent player in the world, but is still not one to be taken lightly considering his mismatch potential.
Still flying under the radar for the most part as far as NBA scouts are concerned, this is a great opportunity for Bradshaw to show what he can do outside of the Big South. A good showing here will place him firmly on the itineraries for NBA teams to visit and watch closely in 06-07.
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