Not everybody who grows up in Fayetteville, Ark., wants to play basketball for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
"Nicky let it be known early he wanted to go out of state," Fayetteville High basketball coach Barry Gebhart said of Nick Bradford, a 6-6, 180-pound forward who will make an official recruiting trip to Kansas this weekend.
"He had a brother who played football at Arkansas in the '80s. It's a situation where there's a lot of pressures being the hometown kid. It seems a no-win situation sometimes," Gebhart added.
Fayetteville High senior Bradford, who has narrowed his list of prospective schools to KU, Oklahoma State and Alabama, averaged 15 points, six rebounds and three assists last year. A good three-pointer shooter, he made 40 percent of his threes a year ago.
As a junior, he played off guard and small forward. This year, he'll run the show at point guard.
"Probably the thing he does best is pass the ball," Gebhart said. "He handles it well. He's a real intelligent player.
"Nicky has athletic ability, but he is a basketball player more than anything else. A lot of guys in Div. I could play another sport they are so athletic. Nicky's sport is basketball. He thinks the game, knows how to read defenses, does all the things we try to teach.
"I'd like to say we taught him how," Gebhart added, laughing. "But he picks up things on his own. He has an athletic family and watches a lot of games on TV."
Bradford played split end in football last year, but did not go out for the team this season. He played summer basketball at the Nike camp and for the powerful Arkansas Wings AAU team.
"I think football was a little release from basketball. His parents tell me growing up his best sport was baseball," Gebhard said.
Bradford has been eyed by the country's colleges basketball coaches a couple years now.
"He played real well in the 16-under tournament at Oklahoma City the year before last," Gebhart said. "This past spring he grew an inch and a half and has become a better athlete. He can run faster, jump higher.
"I used to question whether he could guard somebody at that level. I went to Nike and saw him play. The thing he did best is guard people. He has long arms and bothered a lot of players."
Bradford has scheduled a visit to Alabama next weekend. He's yet to set a date for Okie State. Gebhart said Bradford wants to sign in the early period, which starts Nov. 8.
"I don't think there's any question he likes KU. From my standpoint, I don't know any player who wouldn't listen to what they've got to say with their success and tradition," Gebhart said. "They have a nice staff and run a first-class program. What kid wouldn't want to listen to them?"
Bradford has qualified academically.
"I hesitate to tell this to people who have not seen him play. He's a better kid than a basketball player," said Gebhart, the school's head coach for four years and an assistant six years before that. "Sometimes that turns coaches off who haven't seen him play. Usually there's silence until they've seen him play. When they see him, they know what kind of player he is, too. He's probably the most complete player I've been around at Fayetteville High."