Aaron Bradshaw Brings ‘Goofy’ Personality and Huge Potential to Ohio State
6 mins read

Aaron Bradshaw Brings ‘Goofy’ Personality and Huge Potential to Ohio State

At 7 feet, 1 inches, Aaron Bradshaw stepped onto the room’s flat black platform in front of the gray Ohio State logo. He had a wide, bright smile that flashed silver braces. He glanced back at the lights before sitting down.

“You have to clean this,” he told the journalists gathered there, drawing laughter.

Bradshaw is one of the Buckeyes’ prized transfer acquisitions, a five-star center prospect who spent his freshman year at Kentucky. In addition to his big-time potential and a game that Jake Diebler expects to flash plenty of versatility in 2024-25, Bradshaw brings an easygoing personality to Columbus.

“(I’m) just trying to show people that it’s OK to be different,” Bradshaw said. “It’s OK to smile. It’s OK to do things that people don’t really like to do anymore. You don’t see a lot of people just walking around smiling anymore. They think it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s just too happy.’ That’s stupid. It’s OK to be goofy. It’s OK to be funny. It’s OK to have fun.”

Bradshaw, the No. 1 center and fourth-best prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the 2023 class, played in 26 games for the Wildcats last year, starting 10, but averaged just 13.7 minutes per game.

Still, he averaged 4.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks per game during that time. That’s 14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per 40 minutes. He scored in double figures seven times.

“How to stay calm,” Bradshaw said of what he learned during his time at Kentucky. “I learned a lot of patience there. It molded me into the person I am today, fundamentally.”

Bradshaw entered the transfer portal after the 2023-24 season. It wasn’t just his recruiting pedigree that made him an attraction for Diebler and company.

He showed potential as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker in his opportunities at Kentucky. Diebler believes there is also some untapped versatility in his game. Ohio State could consider Bradshaw as a perimeter option and someone who can run the floor and even distribute the ball.

“I think his ability to do things at his size is great,” Diebler said. “And I would say we’re pushing him to do some things he’s not used to on the field. But he’s got the ability to do it, and I think a lot of it is just repetition and experience. He can handle it. He can pass the ball. And the fact that he can do it at his size is really impressive.”

On April 15, Bradshaw became the first of two five-star Buckeyes signings in the portal, the other being Duke power forward Sean Stewart. Bradshaw and Stewart previously played together in the 2023 McDonald’s All-American Game.

“I think it’s crazy that we’re teammates now,” Bradshaw said. “When we were at McDonald’s, we never thought (we’d be playing together). He was going to Duke, I was going to Kentucky. But I’m glad he’s my teammate now because he’s a hard worker, just like the rest of the guys. And he’s, like, one of those killers. So I’m just glad to be on the same court with him.”

Ultimately, the atmosphere on Diebler’s show won Bradshaw over.

“It’s been a family thing for me,” Bradshaw said. “Coach Diebler has built a family, basically, around this program in the short time he’s been here. He does that and shows that he cares about his players, that’s all I can really ask for in a coach. Where else would I go?”

“Coach Diebler has built a family, basically, around this program in the short time he’s been here. … That’s all I can really ask for in a coach. Where else would I want to go?”– Aaron Bradshaw on why he chose Ohio State

Off the field, one of Bradshaw’s favorite activities is fishing. The image of an 85-inch hooper landing small fish is very visual.

“I catch all the little ones,” Bradshaw said.

Confidence comes from embracing who you are, and Bradshaw prides himself on his fun persona, his “goofy” persona. He continues to work hard to hone his skills and uses his upbeat personality to lift others up.

“It gives me a lot of energy,” Bradshaw said. “If I see my teammates doing something good or I see my coach excited on the sideline, I’ll be excited.”

In terms of expanding his game, Diebler cited Bradshaw’s long-range shooting as the most important thing. He attempted just 14 threes with the Wildcats last season, making four.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily out of his comfort zone, I just think he lacks the experience at the college level,” Diebler said. “He didn’t get a chance to do that much last year. We want him to do that, it gives us space. It gives us space to run lanes. It’s going to be harder for teams to guard us if he does that consistently.”

Bradshaw also had just seven assists against Kentucky. While he won’t be running the ball or leading the offense, Diebler wants Bradshaw to have the ability to drive the ball, distribute it or dribble in key situations.

“The way we play, our forwards will sometimes have the ball in their hands in the middle third and they’ll have to make decisions,” Diebler said. “It’s not just running to the screen all the time. So getting experience with that and his ability to get the ball there and drive it will be great for us.”

If he’s lucky, Bradshaw will enjoy playing at Ohio State in the 2024-25 season.