Dec. 8, 2003
Senior Lauren Bradley loves the color orange. Loves it. As a Florida State Seminole, she may bleed the colors garnet and gold, but she still loves the color orange.
“It’s bright,” Bradley said. “I’ve always liked it. Even though I am at Florida State and people hate orange here, I don’t care, I still like it.”
It’s a good thing that school colors weren’t the deciding factor when Bradley was decided where to play college basketball. Or were they?
“Part of my plan was that I wanted to go to a school where I could get my number 44,” Bradley said. “Florida State had that. Florida didn’t have that, but also I wanted to take my high school colors into consideration which is why NC State was in the mix because my colors were red, white and black. I could have had 44 at NC State too. So that’s why I narrowed it down to those two schools, but the bottom line, it was the people. I still love orange, but I had to go with my gut on that one.”
Good call. Bradley, a fifth-year senior who hails from Lake Mary, Fla., has been a steady presence for the Seminoles since her arrival in August of 1999. Although injuries have limited her minutes on the floor, her desire to learn and excel have never diminished. The injuries she’s had to endure have allowed Bradley to grow in many ways. One of these ways has been learning patience. And it is paying off. Not only is Bradley finally playing injury-free and perhaps the healthiest she’s been in years, she also grown into a well-rounded person on and off the court. She’s even started playing the guitar.
“With my injuries, I have learned a lot of patience,” Bradley said. “I always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Finally, I thought, ‘you know what, I am taking the time, I am going to learn how to do this.’ I have tried so many different things, but I wanted to be good at more than one thing. I have always been good at basketball, but I wanted to have something else I was good at.”
Bradley has been playing the guitar for about two years now. Her dad has played all his life and she was always interested, but was never patient enough to actually sit down and learn. Her dad taught her a few chords and Bradley has kind of taught herself from there. Coach Tag has helped her some too. Bradley will sometimes take her guitar with her on long road trips because like basketball, it is important to practice often. She’s looking forward to bringing her new orange guitar with her on trips this season. Not what your average college basketball player does in her spare time.
“I am who I am,” Bradley said. “I just like different things. I like trying new things. I think it’s important to be a well-rounded person. I am always open to trying new things. That’s why I like playing my guitar, reading and writing and doing outdoorsy stuff.”
Having to redshirt a season for medical reasons, Bradley saw basketball from a whole different perspective, a coach’s perspective, and it has helped her become a better player and leader. It has also made her think about becoming a coach. Bradley earned her bachelor’s degree in criminology and is seeking a master’s degree in sport management. Planning on earning her master’s degree this summer, Bradley is not sure which direction to take next.
“I waiver back and forth everyday (on her future),” Bradley said. “I love the investigative side of things. I love learning to do things and trying to discover it on your own. I can do that through basketball too and through coaching. I have really developed a passion for people, getting to know people, which is something I didn’t do before. I was kind of introverted, but I have come out of my shell a bit, wanting to get to know people and talk a little bit more.”
But for now, Bradley is concentrating on her final season at Florida State and helping the Seminoles continue to improve as she has the past four years. When Bradley was recruited, FSU had finished last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in three of the four previous years. The Seminoles have now finished among the league’s top four teams twice in the past four years. Thanks to players like Bradley, Florida State has become a program to be reckoned with.
“When I was being recruited, I was all about the people,” Bradley said. “It wasn’t about the record, about the campus or anything like that. It was about who I connected with the most and that’s what I went with.”
Bradley believes in Coach Sue and the program she is building and she is happy to have been a part of it. And she’s not through yet.
“I really did believe that things were going to get better here,” Bradley said. “We picked 2003 to win a national championship and obviously that didn’t happen, but I still believe in what we are doing here and what they are going to continue to do here. It has been proven every year with bringing the best recruits in. I think I have helped build, just by being a well-rounded person with school and everything. I haven’t contributed as much as I would have liked to on the basketball court, but I think that is going to change this year for me.”