If you happened to catch the All-Armed Forces team in action two years ago, you were probably so busy watching center David Robinson that you didn't notice one of his teammates, a slender, 6'6" guard named Kevin Bradshaw, who served as a fireman on the USS McKee and had an equally hot hand on the basketball court.
Having finished his three-year hitch in the Navy, he has gone on to similar success—and similar anonymity—at U.S. International University in San Diego. Last season he averaged 31.3 points, finishing second in the nation to Loyola Marymount's Bo Kimble. This season Bradshaw is a pretty fair bet to succeed Kimble as scoring champ. Despite a horrible 22-of-60 performance from the field, Bradshaw averaged 28 points a game in the Gulls' season openers, a 104-78 loss to Fresno State and an 80-75 defeat by Montana State.
It's been a long, sometimes painful trip to the top of the scoring charts for Bradshaw, one that included a rocky first year of college, a marriage, fatherhood, the Navy and a divorce. "God chose a different path for me to walk," says Bradshaw, a 24-year-old senior. "Going through what I did settled me down, made me grow up. But I wouldn't want to have to go through it again."
Bradshaw's basketball career began at Buchholz High in Gainesville, Fla., where he teamed with Vernon Maxwell, now of the Houston Rockets, to lead the Bobcats to the state title in 1983. Bradshaw averaged 30 points as a senior and was named Florida's Player of the Year. But he spurned the larger schools that recruited him and instead went to Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Fla., a decision he regretted when he didn't get along with coach Jack McClairen.
December 3, 1990
Shortly after that, Bradshaw's girlfriend, Lavada Stokes, informed him that he was going to be a father. She and Bradshaw were married, and he dropped out of Bethune-Cookman after his sophomore year and joined the Navy to support his wife and new daughter, Jiana. "I did it more out of confusion than anything else," he says. "I didn't really know what to do or where to go."
He was eventually stationed on the McKee, a submarine tender based in San Diego. But Lavada balked at leaving Florida, and the couple soon divorced.
U.S. International coach Gary Zarecky saw Bradshaw play in a San Diego summer league game two years ago and thought he would be perfect for the Gulls' wide-open style. The rest is U.S. International scoring history. Bradshaw set a school single-game scoring record with 54 points in a 152-137 loss to Loyola Marymount last season, after which Lion coach Paul Westhead conceded that his team "could not stop him."
Bradshaw's scoring hasn't brought him much publicity, but he isn't overly concerned. "I guess people have a tough time finding us down here in San Diego," he said. The important thing is that Bradshaw appears to have found himself.