Matt Bradley: An answer for men’s basketball’s offensive questions

Senior+transfer+Matt+Bradley+%28right%29+takes+a+shot+during+practice+%28Photo+Courtesy+of+SDSU+Athletics%29.

SDSU Athletics

Senior transfer Matt Bradley (right) takes a shot during practice (Photo Courtesy of SDSU Athletics).

by Austin Tarke, Staff Writer

In the last four seasons, San Diego State basketball — under head coach Brian Dutcher — has had nothing but success. With Dutcher, the Aztecs have made every Mountain West title game, had two March Madness appearances, had a 30-win team in 2019 and are now back-to-back Mountain West Conference champions.

Yet, there are question marks surrounding the team that lost 52% of their offensive production from the previous season. Who will fill the void?

The answer: Matt Bradley.

The incoming senior forward has a linebacker frame that stands at 6’4, 230 pounds and can score at all levels. He was picked as the Mountain West Preseason Newcomer of the Year.

Bradley is a senior transfer from UC Berkeley. In his junior year, he scored 18 points per game, shot 37% from three and secured almost five rebounds per game. However, his team never had a winning record.

“I’m intense, I really just want to win and play hard,” Bradley said. 

He said he’s buying into the Aztec winning culture that’s had 17 straight winning seasons and made eight NCAA tournament appearances. Winning basketball means playing as a team. Bradley said he’s not worried about his stats.

“I’m trying to be a great teammate and be the best player I can be,” Bradley said.

It has been a difficult adjustment for Bradley to acclimate to his new team from an offensive standpoint. He’s coming from a team where the ball was always in his hands. Now, he credits his tremendous teammates for taking some pressure off his game.

“There’s a lot of dudes on this team that can score the basketball,” Bradley said.

From a defensive perspective, Bradley said he is amazed at the level of play.

“I don’t know any team that plays defense like San Diego State,” Bradley said. 

He said it’s always one against five as the team collectively guards the ball.

The intensity on defense and battle for starting roles on the team has made for competitive practices.

“Practices have been harder than some games I played in the PAC-12,” Bradley said.

Bradley has a lot of tools in his basketball toolbox. When asked what’s the best part of his game, he mentioned something that can’t be found in the stat sheet.

“My competitiveness,” said Bradley. “When I compete, it can be taken as this dude’s angry, but it’s my passion for the game.” 

Bradley also mentioned his competitive teammates match his energy. 

“It’s fun going head to head in practice,” returning senior guard Trey Pulliam said. “We feed off the energy,”

While Bradley may be humble about his skillset, the other Aztec players rave about their new teammate.

 “He’s a dog,” sophomore guard Lamont Butler said repeatedly.

Pulliam mentioned he’s versatile and will replace the talent we lost last year. Senior forward Nathan Mensah said Bradley has quickly bought into the San Diego State culture.

Bradley gets into a zone when he laces up his sneakers. But he also prioritizes hobbies outside of basketball to clear his head.

His excitement was evident as a big smile came over his face when he talked about photography.

“Mount Helix is a nice spot, you can see anything from Mexico to the ocean and even see the campus,” Bradley said.

The newcomer to San Diego also said he likes trying different restaurants and his favorite location so far is Little Italy.

On Nov. 9, the Aztecs tip off their season against UC Riverside. Instead of looking ahead to the following game, a rematch against rival BYU or a marquee matchup against top-ranked Michigan in December. Bradley says he focuses on one game at a time.

“We have every game circled on the schedule,” Bradley said.

Nevertheless on Nov. 9, 12,414 strong will be loud and proud in Viejas Arena as Bradley admits he’s anxious to be in front of one of the best student sections in college basketball, but he’s excited and looking forward to answering the question marks that this team has going into the season.