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An Ivy Leaguer Is the Best
Frank Deford
December 07, 1964
There is an air of uncertainty about this season all over the country. Because the collegiate roster is bursting with good teams, hardly a conference race can be predicted with confidence, let alone the NCAA championship. No doubts exist on one count, however: the finest player in sneakers leads the forces of a most unlikely campus
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December 07, 1964

An Ivy Leaguer Is The Best

There is an air of uncertainty about this season all over the country. Because the collegiate roster is bursting with good teams, hardly a conference race can be predicted with confidence, let alone the NCAA championship. No doubts exist on one count, however: the finest player in sneakers leads the forces of a most unlikely campus

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Speculation about Bradley's ability to play pro basketball is, however, somewhat moot. He is not so sure that he will try it. "If I wanted to prove myself and I knew I had the desire to continue, I'm sure I would," he says. "But right now, there are too many alternatives. I don't need basketball competition. The attitude is what is important, and I've gotten that out of the game already. I love the game. It's part of me. I don't think, however, that it's an inseparable—there ought to be a better word—oh, well, an inseparable part of me. At one time I thought I couldn't live unless I played baseball, and I gave that up."

Bradley is considering six alternatives to the pros. Some of them are admittedly smoke screens—"I say some of this to confuse people; it's still my business"—but he is obviously interested in both law school and study abroad. The other possibilities are the ministry, government work, business and the Air Force. His future is likely to remain indefinite for a while because Bradley, right now, is more concerned with the present, and particularly with his thesis, which is a major part of a Princeton senior's grade. His topic is "The 1940 Senatorial Campaign in Missouri," and he did a great deal of work on it over the summer at the Library of Congress when he was in Washington. (He split the rest of his time between helping in Governor Scranton's campaign and practicing for the Olympics.) Bradley has personally interviewed one of the losers of that 1940 campaign and hopes to meet with the winner when he gets a Christmas break from basketball. The winner maintains a library in Independence, Mo. Bradley is also an eager public speaker—he virtually solicits engagements from youth groups—and because of his forensic aptitude and his qualities of leadership, it has been suggested that he already has his dark eyes on that Senate seat he is now writing about.

One usually levelheaded New York journalist has asked Bradley—seriously—if he would like to be President. Bill dismisses such talk as foolishness and insists it would be presumptuous even to answer the question. But they are going to be writing about this young man for years to come—and not just about the way he dribbles a basketball.

"He is a Christian the best way he can be, through the rigors of Calvinism," Donald Mathews says, trying to explain him. "He's never going to lose. Bill is always going to come back. Do you know?" He smiled and paused. "Do you know just how hard it is to defeat a 16th century Puritan?"

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