Miami’s Williams Named 2022 Bradley Award Winner
GREENSBORO, North Carolina (ACSMA and theACC.com) – University of Miami freshman guard Ja’Leah Williams is the recipient of the 17th Annual Bob Bradley Spirit and Courage Award from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Prior to her freshman year at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida, Williams was diagnosed with scoliosis so severe that she underwent surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami to correct the 67 degree curvature of her spine.
Despite six months of painful rehabilitation and recovery, Williams was back on the court for his junior season. She scored 27 points in a win over her school’s biggest rival and was named High School Conference Player of the Year. She continued her senior season by leading her school to its first state championship in 30 years.
In his first year with the Hurricanes, Williams made quite an impact. She was consistently among the top five freshmen in the ACC in points, rebounds, steals, and assists. She had the game-winning shot in Miami’s 46-45 win over Georgia Tech on Jan. 16, and she scored a career-high 16 points in a narrow loss to Louisville on Feb. 1.
Williams enters the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament with 22 starts in 28 games, averaging 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She was named to the All-ACC Freshman team on Tuesday.
Williams also made her mark in the classroom, where a first-semester GPA that topped 3.0 landed her on the Miami Bookbusters honor roll.
“Ja’Leah has so much brightness and resilience,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said. “On the inside, she has so much faith, perseverance and courage in everything she does. Throughout the recruitment process, I never really understood how serious scoliosis was because she never expressed that she felt down or had any uncertainty about whether she would play basketball again i thought it was just orthoscopic surgery the way she got it managed.
“She was so confident that scoliosis wasn’t going to beat her. So when I saw the x-rays I was shocked because it was a huge operation. But it’s Ja’Leah. She will always come back, she will always have a smile on her face, and she will always believe that the next thing that happens will be positive.
The Bradley Award will be presented to Williams Thursday night before the Hurricanes’ 6 p.m. ACC Women’s Tournament second round game against Duke at Greensboro Coliseum.
A joint venture of the ACC and ACSMA, the Bradley Award is presented annually in memory of Bob Bradley, Director of Sports Information for the Clemson University Hall of Fame, whose can-do attitude inspired everyone who knew him while he was battling cancer. Chosen by a select media panel, the award honors a student-athlete, coach, administrator or other ACC men’s or women’s basketball staff member who has overcome significant hardship to contribute to their team or society. in its entirety.
RECIPIENTS OF THE BOB BRADLEY AWARD
2022 Ja’Leah Williams, Miami
2021 Tiana Mangakahia, Syracuse
2020 Howard Washington, Syracuse
2019 Ty Outlaw, Virginia Tech
2018 Woody Durham, North Carolina
2017 The Capel family, Duke, UNC, Wake Forest
2016 Rob Moxley, North Carolina State
2015 Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina
2014 Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech
2013 Dick Kelley, Boston College
2012 Bernard James, State of Florida
2011 Jessica Breland, North Carolina
2010 D’Andre Bell, Georgia Tech
2009 Adrian Thomas, Miami
2008 Matt Zitani, State of Florida
2007 Debbie Ryan, Virginia; Kay Yow, State of North Carolina
2006 Tony Bethel, North Carolina State
ABOUT THE ATLANTIC COAST SPORTS MEDIA ASSOCIATION
The Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association is an organization of journalists dedicated to fostering a mutually beneficial relationship between the news media and the institutions and administration of the Atlantic Coast Conference.