Bradley, Rostovs coming to WKU

WKU added two big men on Thursday, one of whom was a known target and the other more of a surprise.

Aleksej Rostovs, a 6-foot-9 center from Latvia, committed to WKU Thursday morning, according to the Canarias Basketball Academy website.

Hours later, the transfer of 6-foot-10 center Michael Bradley from Connecticut to WKU was confirmed by CBSSports.

Topper fans had been hearing rumors on Bradley in the weeks since he visited campus the weekend of April 13-15.

During that visit, Bradley told the Herald WKU was “very high” on his list.

However, Rostovs was a new name for most WKU fans that learned of his commitment.

“I’m really looking forward to the new challenge that awaits me at Western Kentucky University,” Rostovs said in a Canarias Basketball Academy release. “Coach (Ray) Harper has been a winner at every level he has coached at. Add that to the rich basketball tradition at WKU — it is all really exciting!”

Rostovs was part of the bronze medal U18 Latvian National team in the 2010 European Championships.

He also competed for the U19 National Team in 2011, finishing 10th in the FIBA World U19 Championships.

Rostovs becomes the first European native to play for WKU since Montenegro native Nemanja Milosevic graduated for the Toppers after the 2009-2010 season.

Bradley told that his decision to come to WKU was based heavily on tradition.

“They make it to the tournament a lot, and when you’re a college basketball player, that’s all you want to go to,” Bradley said.

WKU was the only school Bradley visited after deciding to transfer after his redshirt freshman season at UConn.

He was granted a request for scholarship release because of health circumstances surrounding his grandmother, who lives in his hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn.

He could be granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA because of his grandmother’s health, allowing him to play in the upcoming season.

After signing point guard Brandon Harris in April and guard/forward Eddie Alcantara on Tuesday, Rostovs’ and Bradley’s commitments mean the Toppers’ signing class stands at four.

That’s one player more than the number of scholarships WKU had available.

The numbers problem could be solved by putting a current scholarship player on academic scholarship, a current player transferring or a new recruit coming in as a walk-on.