FORT MYERS, Fla. — Bartow (Fla.) coach Terrence McGriff was asked before his team’s game Saturday with No. 10 Chaminade (St. Louis) whether it could hold Chaminade’s Jayson Tatum to less than 40 points.
“They had better worry about holding Tony Bradley below 40 points,” McGriff said.
Neither player put up 40, but they both came close in a great preview of future rivals. Tatum, a Duke signee, had 36 points and five rebounds in his team’s 64-54 win at the City of Palms Classic. Bradley, who signed with North Carolina, was just as impressive with 33 points and 13 rebounds for Bartow.
“Hopefully, this is a preview of next year, when we’re at Duke and North Carolina, where hopefully we get the win then too,” said Tatum, a 6-8 small forward who is considered the No. 4 player in the 2016 class according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
Bradley, a 6-10 center listed as the No. 30 player by those same composite rankings, said he tried not to get wrapped up in matching Tatum, point for point.
“I don’t think of it as a scoring battle, I was just trying to help my team win the game, any way I can,” Bradley said. “When I saw on the schedule that we were playing this team, I was looking forward to it and I was ready to play this team.”
While Bradley had the better individual performance, Tatum’s teammates were more accustomed to playing on the big stage. The Eagles have played three Super 25 teams, losing to Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), but defeating Bentonville, Ark., and Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.).
“We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of things,” Tatum said. “This is our second year of traveling, but this is the No. 1 tournament in the country. We’re just happy to be a part of it.”