Tony Bradley told reporters moments after North Carolina’s national championship victory against Gonzaga in Phoenix on April 3 that he planned to enter his name into the NBA draft. It took him literally until the 11th hour to do it, but the freshman center finally followed through on his intentions Sunday by formally filing his paperwork just before the 11:59 p.m. deadline. Bradley is joined in the draft process by fellow underclassmen Joel Berry and Theo Pinson. Unlike teammate Justin Jackson, who declared earlier this month, none of the three newcomers to the list have hired an agent — leaving open the possibility that they could return to school. “We fully support our players taking this step of being evaluated by NBA teams to see where they stand in relation to the draft,” UNC coach Roy Williams said in a statement. “All three players have options to do what is best for their careers and going through the evaluation process helps them make the best decision available to each of them.” New rules instituted last year allow players to attend the NBA’s predraft Combine and conduct individual workouts with teams to give them a better idea of their draft potential. The process was particularly beneficial to Jackson, who heeded the advice given to him by NBA coaches and scouts, significantly improved his shooting touch and went on to win ACC Player of the Year honors. It’s likely that Berry and Pinson will follow the same path and return to the Tar Heels for their senior seasons. Bradley’s situation isn’t as clear. Although the 6-foot-11, 240-pound teenager didn’t start a game and averaged only 14.6 minutes off the bench — averaging 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the floor — he is projected by most draft sites as a late first- or early-second round selection. His stock could still potentially rise with a strong performance at the NBA’s pre-draft Combine in Chicago on May 9-14.Bradley said after the championship game that he is seriously considering becoming UNC’s first one-and-one player since Brandan Wright in 2007. Underclassmen that have not hired an agent have until May 24 to decide whether to stay in the draft or withdraw their name and return to school. Berry ranked second on the team behind Jackson in scoring at 14.7 points per game. He led the team with 138 assists, 53 steals and a .383 3-point percentage. He had 22 points and six assists in the NCAA title game, despite playing on two sprained ankles. Pinson returned from an injury that cost him the first 19 games of the season to average 6.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
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