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After initially targeting one of the top big men in the nation last summer, the 7-footer has moved the Bruins on to the next stage in his recruitment.

Class of 2023 center Aaron Bradshaw announced his top seven semifinalists on Monday, and UCLA men's basketball made the cut. Maryland, Louisville, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, Michigan and the NBA G League are the Camden (NJ) product's other top contenders.

Bradshaw also had offers from DePaul, LSU, Kansas State, Miami, Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John's, TCU and Texas A&M. That makes the Bruins not only the lone West Coast program to make Bradshaw's top seven, but also the only one to send him an offer to begin with.

Bradshaw broke onto the scene with New Jersey Scholars Elite on the Nike EYBL circuit last spring, picking up four offers just during the third live period in June 2021. Coach Mick Cronin's staff sent one of those offers after they watched him at the Rider Team Camp, which boasts many of the mid-Atlantic's top prospects.

Since then, Bradshaw has continued to ascend through the recruiting rankings, and he wound up taking official visits to LSU and Oklahoma State back in November while also stopping by local options Seton Hall and Temple.

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In 30 appearances for Camden this past season, Bradshaw averaged 8.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 0.7 steals per game. Bradshaw, who is an even 7-feet tall and weighs 210 pounds, posted five double-doubles as a junior and had five-plus blocks on nine separate occasions.

Suiting up for NJ Scholars Elite again this spring, Bradshaw has proven to be more than a shot-blocker, though. Bradshaw did earn the Nike EYBL Orlando Defensive MVP in April averaging 14.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game, but he has shown an ability to hit shots from the perimeter at the Southern Jam Fest and other major scouting events.

Bradshaw is a five-star recruit, according to ESPN and the 247Sports Composite, while Rivals and On3 have him at four-stars. In the 247Sports Composite, Bradshaw comes in as the No. 4 player in New Jersey, No. 2 center in the country and No. 24 overall recruit in his class.

UCLA has five-star center Adem Bona joining the program as part of its 2022 recruiting class this fall, but Cronin does not currently have any commits for 2023. There are several four and five-star prospects who are heavily considering the Bruins or have them as a finalist – namely point guard Isaiah Collier, shooting guard Ja'Kobe Walter, small forward Ron Holland, small forward Andrej Stojakovic, power forward KJ Evans and power forward Milan Momcilovic – but none of them are true bigs.

Bona could hang around for the 2023-2024 season if he doesn't go one-and-done, and Mac Etienne will be two years removed from ACL surgery by that point. There will certainly be room in the rotation for someone with the defensive prowess and dynamism of Bradshaw, though, so he could manage to find a pivotal role for himself should he come to Westwood in the near future.

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