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Every year, we see more and more mid majors make noise during the NCAA Tournament. As a result, those programs have become more popular destinations for ranked talent. Bradley hasn't yet made one of those deep tournament runs, but they landed a ranked senior on Tuesday when four-star Josh Cunningham gave them the nod.
A 6-foot-7 forward who won back to back state titles at Chicago Morgan Park, Cunningham ranks No. 88 in the final Rivals150 for 2014.
According to Nick Irvin, who coaches Cunningham both at Morgan Park and during the summer with the Mac Irvin Fire the distance and being a city kid who stays in state were both important to Cunningham.
"It is close to home and he felt comfortable with the coaching staff and the players on his visit," Irvin said. "He also thought about how none of the big city kids really stay home and play. He thought it was a great chance to stay close and play."
Cunningham is athletic, has a great motor and a rapidly expanding game. More of a slightly undersized power forward early in his career, Cunningham has developed legitimate perimeter skills. He rebounds and is a high-level defender who should be an impact player in the Missouri Valley.
"He watches a lot of college basketball and he did feel comfortable about going there and playing right away," Irvin said. "He talked to a lot of people and the thing everybody said is that he could be a big fish in small pond. He loves the game and that plays a factor. He has seen a lot of kids from Chicago go places and not be happy and transfer."
At the end of the day, that chance to play early is what enabled Cunningham to pull the trigger for Bradley despite offers from major conference schools.
"He never cared about what the name on the jersey said," Irvin said. "He was mostly focused on opportunity to play and get better early."
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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