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Staff Picks: The most impactful addition to Bradley men’s basketball next season

Brian Wardle cuts down the net after a regular season championship in 2023. Photo courtesy of Bradley Athletics.

Fresh off a third-place finish in the Missouri Valley, Bradley men’s basketball announced five new signings heading into the 2024-25 season. With three transfers and two freshmen, the Braves have reloaded their roster to set themselves up well to improve and make it back to the NCAA Tournament.

Below, The Scout sports staff makes its picks for who will stand out among the newcomers.

Zek Montgomery

By Latif Love

The most impactful addition to the Braves for next season will be a familiar face. Former Brave Zek Montgomery is back and ready to make the sequel even better than the first act. Unlike the other new additions to Bradley, Montgomery already knows the team and will fit in nicely after the loss of Connor Hickman. Montgomery had a down year at Rhode Island, shooting 43 percent from the field and 31 percent from three, but hopefully, returning home can help those numbers increase. 

Corey Thomas

By Umar Syed

The newest member of the Braves comes to Peoria from Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas. A double-double machine, Thomas’s 6-foot-10 frame, strength and athleticism gives him the ability to dominate in the paint and be a force of nature on defense, which is one area the Braves are hoping for help with the graduation of Malevy Leons. Thomas shot 69.2 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three last year, and he’ll hope to continue that success on the Hilltop. 

Connor Dillion 

By Rodrigo Perez

There is no transfer with more experience than Connor Dillion, who comes back to Peoria after four seasons at Winona State. The Braves can use this experience alongside guys like Darius Hannah and Duke Deen. Dillion captained Peoria Notre Dame during the 2018-19 season when the Irish fell in the State Sectional Finals. Ranked No. 30 in Illinois during his high school days, Dillion had fond memories in Peoria, and he’ll surely be looking to continue that trend this season. 

Timoty Van Der Knaap

By Mason Klemm

The first Italian-born player in BU men’s basketball history, Van Der Knaap looks to be someone who can replace Leons, with his long wingspan mucking up opposing players and his shot-making ability stretching the floor offensively. It’ll be hard to replicate what Leons can do, especially as a true freshman, but Van Der Knaap’s experience playing abroad should set him up well to contribute early on and help the Braves on both ends of the floor.

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