Mater Lakes guard Michael Bradley was a vital piece in his school winning their first State Title this season. The senior described what that moment meant to him.
"The experience of winning states is unreal," said Bradley "It’s been a long time coming and every year I came up short, so for me to finally get a state championship under my belt as I end my high school career was the happy ending I was looking for. I could not ask for anything else."
The Bears went 28-3 this season and were one of the top teams in the state throughout the year. They were led by first year head coach Dylan Estock, who took over after being an assistant coach at Mater Lakes previously. They had signature wins against Belen, Riviera, Miami Country Day, Winter Haven, and more during the season. Despite all the victories Bradley described one of the team’s losses was the moment that he felt the team was ready to capture the 4a title.
“I would say the point I realized we had what it took was when we lost to Columbus(73-60 final that was a close game throughout). It changed us, we were a different team after that. Everyone had that edge to them and players started to step up and give more than what they were giving before.”
Bradley averaged 12.6 points, 3.5 steals, 2.6 assists, and 2.4 rebounds for a very well rounded Mater Lakes Squad. The senior made 99 triples on the season, which was the fifth most in the state. He talked about what he feels his strengths as a player are.
“My strength on the court I would say is my defense. I take pride in my defense, I feel like if you aren’t a good defender it’s because you don’t want to be. I think about it as I want to stop this person from scoring because I want to show that he isn’t better than me and I take that personally. Then I would have to say my shooting, I can shoot the ball a little bit. After that I would say my passing, I can find my teammates because we play together so much I know where they are going and what they like to do.”
The senior had a big performance in the blowout state championship game vs The Villages. He had a very efficient 21 points. He made 5 of his 7 three point attempts and was a perfect 2 for 2 from inside the arc. It was an impressive way to cap a high school career. Bradley is headed to Barry University and he talked about why he chose to become a Buccaneer.
“I liked that Barry is an up-tempo team that shoots a lot of threes and traps and that is exactly how my high school team plays. I grew up around Barry(His father is an assistant coach at Barry) so I knew what it had to offer and I know if I put in my time there I have no doubt I will be able to play professionally.”
Bradley played the last two seasons at Mater Lakes, before that he was at Mater Academy where he played high school ball starting in middle school. He talked about one of the things he will remember from his high school time, which was playing for the late Marcos “Shakey” Rodriguez.
“The thing that I remember the most about my high school career, without a doubt I will say, is the time I spent my freshman year with coach Shakey Rodriguez. He passed away right after the season and that was the first big loss I ever had in my life because I was so young. I have a feeling of appreciation for him and all the knowledge he gave me when I was a wide eyed freshman.
Michael Bradley had an extremely productive and winning career in Miami. It will be fun to see what is in store for his collegiate career at Barry University playing for longtime coach Butch Estes.