Kendall Bradbury inspires and knows what it is to be a winner and team player

Gepubliceerd op 2 mei 2023 om 13:00

Getting better by working hard and leaving comfort zones

She is the ninth leading scorer in NAIA Basketball History, with 2.850 points behind her name. She was 21 times Conference Player of the Week, an all-time leading scorer in Taylor University AND Crossroads League History; I can sum up so many awards that the 26 years old Kendall Bradbury (on the photo on the left with number 13) has won during her basketball career. Kendall is a very talented basketball player, who’s always focused on getting her teammates better. That is what makes her a very beautiful player, in every possible way! Last season she showed Uitsmijters in Almelo (The Netherlands) what she has been capable of.

Swimming became her first sport, being taught about setting goals and discipline

Many basketball players start playing basketball at a very young age. Kendall didn’t start playing basketball when she was very young. She started to swim, and that sport gave her an amazing view of how to get better at something you really love to do. “I actually didn’t start out playing basketball until I was 11 years old,” Kendall says. “I used to be a swimmer before playing basketball. Later on, I got injured at my shoulder, so from that moment I had to choose something else to try. My dad played basketball, and suggested me to try it out. Once swimming became out of the picture, basketball became my biggest passion ever since!”

Right now, her biggest passion is inspiring a lot of people. Kendall learned how to grow and develop herself. “When I was young, I was very individual minded. I knew I wanted to accomplish a lot, and swimming was a great way to train your body. For my abilities and talent, I am very grateful that swimming gave me the opportunity to beginning to be more athletic as I am right now on the basketball court! It thought me some disciplines to at such young age, and to know how to set goals for yourself.”

She loves to see how young kids develop themselves

For Kendall, it is not just playing basketball. She loves everything that is part of this amazing sport. “Basketball has taken me to so many places, and has given me a lot of opportunities and amazing abilities. I worked so hard, every single day to show the impact that basketball, talent and discipline have. I love the idea that I can come to an under 12 practice and impact at least one kid from my experience of playing. The game has given me so much things to grow in my own life and what I can give to other kids. Being some kind of an inspiration to achieve dreams is amazing! My parents and siblings have all been so supportive of my dreams; that is something you are striving for. You have to have dreams; I mean what do you have to strive for if you don’t have any dreams? Even if only one kid can achieve his or her goal because of my impact, that it really feels like I have accomplished a dream.”

“I am lucky to have my parents and my siblings!”

Kendall received so much motivation from her family. It is amazing to see how quick she got better, by always being motivated and stimulated. “Both of my parents always wanted to accomplished a lot,” Kendall explains. “My mom used to be a swimmer, and my dad played basketball. My dad drove me to every practice, and is always the one person that is always in my head to hear him saying that he is proud of me. He was very proud of me, and knew I would improve myself to be better and better. He gave so much wisdom, and always stimulated me to be the best player on the court. My parents pushed me all the way out of my comfort zone, for the good reason to be better every time. They knew how to do that really well. I used to hate change, but I know that it is a huge part of moving on to the next phase in your life. I am lucky to have them and my siblings!”

A very all-rounded player

Are you a shooter, a driver, a post player, or do you have all kinds of abilities? Kendall is a very all-rounded player, but that didn’t make it easy to find the right college. “Although I was always felt like being very versatile, that was always used against me when I was looking to go to college. I really struggled to get recruited to play college, because teams only needed a guard or a post player. I could do both, and I didn’t know what to choose. Some coaches made me realize that being versatile is not a bad thing. They understood that I couldn’t do one of those abilities, but both of them. I worked really hard to be better and better; practice really early and rebounding like crazy after I missed a shot. The school allowed me to do what I can do, so that I have become what I become. I wasn’t always comfortable about it, but it made me a better player.”

One of the coaches that Kendall was talking about is Jessika Caldwell. She saw the potential of all those abilities that Kendall has. “Jessika is amazing! She saved my basketball career, because she let me in and supports someone’s life into me. She pushed me so hard, because so knew what I was capable of. I wanted to win, every single time I went on the court, and Jessika wanted to win as well.”

Valor Christian High School, a time that Kendall would never forget about

In 2011, Kendall joined the Valor Eagles basketball team. She grew up to be an amazing player. “I loved every minute of playing! Valor Christian High School is an institution that has a lot of success. That’s what I liked about it, because I want to win everything like I said. I knew I was going to be pushed athletically, but also to successful at school. It prepared me so well for college, and it was a true honor to play for Valor! Any way I could get back to Valor, and help the kids over there, I would do it.”

The team got better every year. Their growth got rewarded during season 2014-2015, when Kendall and Valor Eagles won the championship. “During my junior year, we made it to the Final Four. We fell short, but during the next year we won a lot of games with 25 points or more. The next year we were ready to dominate, and it worked!”

From losing the fun of basketball to winning a lot of amazing awards

In 2015 it was time for Kendall to take the next step. That next step was Taylor University. In four years she had an average of 20 points and 8 rebound each season, but it wasn’t always easy for her. “Going to Valor was the best decision, and going to Taylor University is the second best decision of my life. Those four years at Taylor challenged and pushed me more than anything else in my life. After my sophomore year, I thought about quit playing basketball. I needed change in my life, and I thought Taylor University could give that. Everything was new in the beginning, and wasn’t really used with losing. We had all the pieces in the team that could come together, but we fall apart ever since our coach left. I had the feeling that I didn’t love basketball anymore. I struggled with that feeling for quite a long time. Then again; who am I without basketball? The fact that I understand that basketball is not who you are but what you do, made me the idea to play basketball again feel okay. My new coach, Jody Martinez, lit a fire in me like almost nobody else did. He changed the way I thought about a basketball player, and made me want to go to practice again. It changed the directory of my college career.”

“I couldn’t say enough about my teammates. Without them, all those highlights wouldn’t even be possible for me to achieve”

As said before, Kendall was the ninth leading scorer in NAIA Basketball History, with 2.850 points behind her name. She was 21 times Conference Player of the Week, an all-time leading scorer in Taylor University AND Crossroads League History, and so much more of those amazing awards. Though she made it happen to win all of those awards, she couldn’t thank her teammates a lot for making all of that happen. “Of course, I won a lot of awards at Taylor University, but it is about working hard and I wouldn’t be able to reach that kind of stage without my teammates. It is not in my nature to finish a basket all on my own, my teammates helped me a lot and made it possible to find me in different situations. It wouldn’t have been possible at all; you need your teammates to make your performance happen. I couldn’t say enough about my teammates. Without them, all those highlights wouldn’t even be possible for me to achieve.”

The start of her professional career in Europe

It couldn’t be anything else. During season 2019-2020, Kendall started her professional basketball career in Ireland, at the Limerick Celtics. “Ireland was a great opportunity to know what it is to play basketball in Europe. After I graduated I hired an agent: Matt Krejci. He signed a couple players who in Limerick before, and put me in contact with Tony Hehir: the club secretary. Matt wanted to make sure that I would feel comfortable about playing at Celtics. I met some of the most amazing players. My dream came true after I graduated, playing basketball oversees. That is of course one of my main goals: keep living my dream.”

Special moments during the corona pandemic

Being home between 2020 and 2021; that is what everyone knows during the corona pandemic. Kendall wouldn’t forget those moments, especially when she aunt of her two nephews. “When I came back home, it was quite hard to not play basketball anymore due to covid-19. During that time, I enjoyed being around my family, and my younger brother had his first son. The bond that I have created with my nephew is so wonderful! I couldn’t imagine that it would be the same of I kept playing basketball in Ireland if there wasn’t anything as covid-19. My other brother had a daughter in February 2020, and I missed the first part of her life while I was playing in Ireland. So in a special way, I think my brothers gave me a different purpose in a different passion in life, besides basketball. The nickname I received from my nephews is aunty Ken, like I love hearing the scream ‘Aunty Ken, come play with me!’. Just being around with my family was fantastic!”

Being an inspiration for young players as a coach

Kendall came up with an idea: why wouldn’t I coach a high school nearby? That is what she was doing after staying home for a long time. “Many people asked me why I didn’t go to Valor as a coach. I would have loved to do that, but I wanted to make a name for myself somewhere else. I made a name of myself at Valor as a player. As a coach, I wanted to a leap of faith of myself on a different school, and being an impact in a different environment to. I coach girls on the age of 15 or 16 years old. If you can show them love through whatever they are doing, you can be able to reach so much more than only being a basketball coach. Coaching a group of girls, and teaching them basketball gave me a lot. It was an amazing opportunity for me!”

Playing in The Netherlands, at Uitsmijters in Almelo

In season 2022-2023 Kendall played in the second highest basketball competition (the Promotiedivisie) in The Netherlands. At Uitsmijters in Almelo she had an average of 18 points per game. We were wondering how Kendall found out about Uitsmijters. “I got on a mission trip to Germany, from July until August. My agent knew someone in Germany who knew someone here in Almelo. I sent some of my basketball videos, and coach Leroy Williams liked what he saw. When I got back on that trip, my best friend was getting married. During their wedding I got called by Leroy, and I told him that I was interested to play in Almelo. It was a new opportunity for me to improve myself much more. Uitsmijters makes me feel that I am part of this team for years. I am a quite family-oriented person. They made me feel so welcome here, and everybody wants to be better and win everything. I feel very comfortable about that!”

“I am willing to trade the ‘me’ for ‘we’”

The way Kendall thinks about the definition of ‘team’ is amazing. That makes her definitely a player that every would love to have on their team! “For me, being a team player means willing to scarify your individual stats, and being able to help to the team to play better and win more games. I am willing to trade the ‘me’ for ‘we’. That is not always easy, and I am older than some other teammates, but I love to see young players getting better and developing themselves.”

Kendall has a very warm heart, an amazing mission to help players to get better and better. Her thoughts about basketball, the team and the players is extremely inspirational, important and something that every team needs to have. Every team, teammate and coach can be very lucky to have a player like Kendall!

Reactie plaatsen


Er zijn geen reacties geplaatst.