Aaron Bradshaw Feels the Difference as the Calendar Turns to March

On3 imageby:Jacob Polacheck03/02/24

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In a rollercoaster season for Kentucky’s Aaron Bradshaw, he can now check a significant item off his college basketball bucket list: getting his first win in March.

Bradshaw finished with 15 points (4-for-4 FG) and five rebounds in only 12 minutes of play during Kentucky’s 111-102 win over Arkansas Saturday. He made it clear that the intensity was amped up for the final month of the season.

I’m not gonna lie, I thought that game was March Madness at first,” Bradshaw told reporters postgame. “It’s real intense now. We’re just trying to win every game and just get better.”

Despite coming in as a five-star recruit, Bradshaw has been battling this season to earn playing time. While it’s taken its toll, he’s working through it.

“It’s not really a physical thing. It’s more of a mental thing,” Bradshaw said. “You’ve got to mentally prepare yourself. Coach Cal really knows what he’s doing because he’s doing it on purpose. I was never the person on the bench. Now that I am, I’ve got to figure out other ways to impact the game.”

Fighting through the adversity this season has been made easier with the support he’s had, Bradshaw said. It’s something he’s been prepared for.

“You’re going to deal with adversity. Adversity is a thing that’s going to happen in your life. You’re going to have to deal with it regardless,” he said. “Are you going to deal with it in a good way or a bad way? I’m trying to deal with it in a good way. [I’m] getting in that gym, working out, and getting better every day.”

Photo by Dr. Michael Huang | Kentucky Sports Radio

The Three 7-Footers

Aaron Bradshaw is one of three seven-footers manning the paint for this year’s Kentucky squad. Sophomore center Ugonna Onyenso only played eight minutes in the win, but 7-foot-2 Croatian big Zvonimir Ivisic played the majority of minutes at the five, going for 12 points and nine rebounds in 20 minutes.

“I’m proud of my boy,” Bradshaw said of Ivisic. “Proud of him. Just like me, we’re dealing with the same thing. To see him get that block and push the ball, I just love it.”

When asked about the difference in Kentucky’s propensity to give up buckets in the paint early on and how they turned up the intensity at the end, Bradshaw had two words: “Zvonimir Ivisic.”

“That’s really it,” he said. “My boy held down the paint and got that one big block that we needed. That secured the whole game.”

The minutes haven’t been distributed equally among the three seven-footers, but each player is happy for the other. Bradshaw called it a “unique” relationship.

“We were just talking about that,” he said. “A lot of other schools and players hate on each other. Us, we don’t do that. We all love each other.”

The love for each other is evident from the sidelines. In Kentucky’s win over Mississippi State in Starkville, after a rough game from Onyenso, Bradshaw was seen comforting his teammate from the bench. In a win over Arkansas, the mood was a lot more cheery and the support was still there.

“That’s the most exciting thing for me,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve been on some teams where people score a bucket and they’re just sitting there. You know that little clap they do? Good job. Good job. Nah. If somebody makes a shot on this team, we’re doing celebrations. We’re doing backflips. We’re doing all this other stuff. That’s the main thing I really cherish and love about this team.”

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