NORWALK, CT – As a young professional basketball team prepares to enter its first season, a veteran athlete and state favorite will take the helm.
Former Fairfield University superstar and New Haven native Troy Bradford has been appointed coach of the new Norwalk-based Connecticut Cobras team, which will begin playing in the Basketball League from March 2022.
âI’m taking it just to help young men achieve their goals and dreams,â said Bradford, who grew up in Hamden and led Wilbur Cross High School to the State Championship in 1985 as a starting point guard.
He was named Connecticut Player of the Year and then recruited from Fairfield University, where he set records as a superstar, before playing professionally in the United States Basketball League and teams. in Spain and Italy.
Bradford went on to have a busy coaching career and in 2007 established his own Amateur Sports Union organization – United Sons and Daughters – which produced dozens of tournament championships and mentored dozens of students – athletes to NCAA Division I basketball programs.
Before the pandemic hit, Bradford had sought to form his own TBL team, even finding investors who shared his vision.
âWhen the pandemic hit it kind of turned everything upside down,â he said.
Yet, by chance, as the only dream faded, along with the connection with the Connecticut Cobras, a new one supplanted it.
âIt’s a bit of luckâ¦ They were like, ‘We’re looking for a coach’ (and) it kind of fell on my knees,â he said.
âTroy’s experience on and off the court professionally matches the Cobras and Basketball League model that we will be,â said owner Anthony Hill.
“We are thrilled to have such an accomplished Connecticut basketball legend who will lead us into our first season in the TBL,” he said.
Bradford wasn’t always going to be a basketball player. His first love as a youngster was football, with Lynn Swann and Tony Dorsett among his heroes.
In fact, basketball hasn’t been that easy, but it has worked that much harder. Although he is relatively short – Bradford is 5 feet and 10 inches tall – he showed courage in the field that set him apart.
âEveryone wants the 6’5″ or the 6’6 “,â he said, noting that the little ones are often overlooked.
âI live to compete,â Bradford said. “And being the smallest, I always had something to prove.”
He said he wanted to help these players who have had a great college career to continue, support and feed their families and do what they are supposed to do on the pitch.
âThere was a candidate while viewing the coaches who ticked all the boxes for us as someone we wanted on the pitch and in the community,â said Ed Battle, president of Cobras.
He cited Bradford’s long history with the game in Connecticut, as well as his competitive spirit.
“He is also a very motivated and intense competitor, but who cares about his players and will work tirelessly to develop them as young men,” he said.
Current pros and aspiring pros are invited to take part in the next Player Combine on September 18 at Vale Sports Club in Middletown, where Bradford hopes to identify players to join his squad.
When asked what he is looking for for his team, Bradford simply replied ‘winners’, but especially those who understand that it is not about their personal glory but helping the team win. .
âIf you’re talented you don’t have to go out of your way to shoot the ball every time,â he said.
If you try to do what’s best for the team, the glory will come.
For more information visit www.connecticutcobras.com.