Shaw’s Sleepers: San Diego State’s Matt Bradley is a breakout transfer candidate

Find out why San Diego State’s Matt Bradley could be the most impactful transfer of the 2021-22 college basketball season.

What do Clayton Custer, Malcolm Armstead and Jamie Skeen all have in common? Each were former high-major transfers who were primary scorers on their mid-major’s run to the Final Four. Sometimes, the most impactful college basketball transfers can be found in less-searched places.

Over time, the transfer market has become a lifeline for many successful mid-major programs. According to Verbal Commits 1,755 players entered the D-1 transfer portal this offseason, up from 1,016 who entered in 2020.

Let’s take a look at San Diego State’s Matt Bradley. While not receiving as much attention as some of the other names who entered the portal this spring, Bradley could wind up being the most impactful transfer of the 2021 offseason.

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Matt Bradley as a recruit

Matt Bradley graduated from Mount Pleasant (Utah) Wasatch Academy as part of the class of 2018. He was the No. 55 player in his class, per Rivals.com, and helped lead his school to a 24-2 record and a No. 13 overall ranking during his senior season.

Bradley committed to Cal prior to his senior year, just a short time after he broke the San Bernadino, Calif. single-game scoring record with a 72-point outburst against Jurupa Valley (Calif.) Rubidoux High in his junior season.

Bradley’s impact at Cal

Bradley stepped on campus in Berkeley and immediately made his presence felt in the Pac-12. Bradley finished third among all freshmen in D-1 basketball with his 47.2-percent shooting from three, good for third in Cal basketball history. His freshman season, he was one of only six players to shoot at least 47 percent from three and average at least two assists per game. Bradley finished his first season leading the Bears in three-point percentage (47.2), free-throw percentage (79.1) and was second in three-point field goals (50), defensive rebounds (84) and assists (63).

Last season, Bradley finished third in the Pac-12 in scoring at 18 points per game and he joined first-round draft pick Chris Duarte as one of only three players in the conference to average at least 17 points per game and shoot at least 36 percent from deep.

Transition to the Mountain West

In the four seasons since Brian Dutcher was promoted to take over for Steve Fisher, San Diego State has won 96 total games and finished no lower than fourth in the Mountain West. SDSU is also coming off consecutive conference titles.

The Aztecs lose their top three scorers from last season’s 23-5 NCAA Tournament team. Starting point guard Terrell Gomez, starting shooting guard Jordan Schakel and starting small forward Matt Mitchell combined for 38.4 points — 52.2 percent of the team’s total scoring output last season.

Bradley is an offensive force. Looking closely at San Diego State’s style of play, it makes sense for Bradley to shine his brightest when creating in the half court. Bradley finished in the 83rd percentile with 0.992 points per possession in the half court last season.

Breaking down Bradley’s scoring ability in the half court, his versatility shines. He finished in the 83rd percentile in jump shots, 98th percentile in runners, 98th percentile in catch and shoot situations, and 69th percentile in post-up situations.

Bradley’s overall impact

San Diego State has usage spots on the perimeter up for grabs this season as well as a go-to scoring outlet. Perhaps there could not have been a better fit for Matt Bradley.

He steps into a situation at SDSU where the Aztecs are in need of a clear-cut No. 1 scorer but can also surround him with complementary talents. While other impact transfers went to sexier high-major programs, Bradley has a chance to lead his team to an NCAA Tournament and a possible national ranking himself. He has a strong chance to wind up as college basketball’s most impactful transfer pickup of the 2021 offseason.



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