Bradley Fuller enjoys playing both baseball and basketball, in their respective seasons – which, thankfully for him, don’t really overlap.
Asked which he prefers, the almost six foot, six inch 19-year-old Wolfville native admits, “I can’t choose between them. I like them both the same.”
During the summer, Fuller can be seen on the baseball diamond, this year pitching and playing third base for the Kentville junior Wildcats.
Come September, he will return to Sackville, N.B. for his second year as a student and varsity basketball player at Mount Allison University.
Fuller said the transition from high school to college was “a pretty big adjustment…bigger than you would think.”
His stats, however, tell a different story. In his freshman year at Mount A in 2013-2014, Fuller started almost all season. He led the team in scoring at 14.2 points per game, and was named his team’s rookie of the year.
Mount Allison plays basketball in the Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association (ACAA).
“People see our league as weaker, but there are some really competitive teams,” he said.
Fuller had a dialogue with Mounties’ head coach Duane Starratt, himself a Horton graduate, from Grade 11 on. He acknowledged other schools had approached him, including Acadia, but he has no regrets about choosing Mount A.
“I’m 100 per cent happy with my decision,” he said.
Passion for playing
Asked what he likes about basketball, Fuller replied, “I like the competition, both in games and in practice, trying to improve.
“I’ve always enjoyed it, and everything about it. I started playing around Grade 3. I started out with Wolfville Minor, then went to VEBA in Grade 6 and 7.”
His first VEBA coach was Jane Schofield, the sister of then-Horton senior boys’ coach Tim Kendrick, now head coach at UPEI.
Fuller also played school basketball, for Wolfville in Grade 7-9 and Horton in Grade 10-12. His Horton teams were provincial runners-up in both his Grade 10 and 11 years.
Fuller has played baseball “almost as long as I’ve played basketball,” starting in Grade 4 with the Gaspereau River Runners in the peewee house league.
He’s been “all over the place” in baseball, playing for three or four years in Gaspereau, then a year in Kentville, followed by four years in Hantsport, including two in bantam and two at the midget level. Last year, he played with the Kentville midgets, and this year, he’s on the mound with the junior Wildcats.
He first met Lyle Boylen when he was his coach the first year he played in Kentville. Last year, Boylen was his coach with the Kentville midgets, and he is helping coach the junior Wildcats this season.
“We went to nationals last year after winning the national elimination tournament,” said Fuller.
He was also a provincial winner in Hantsport his second year of midget.
Fuller also played three years of baseball for Horton, where he ended up on two more provincial runner-up teams, in back-to-back years.
Friends on the bench
With junior teams in both Kentville and Hantsport this year, he had a choice of where to play. What tipped the balance in Kentville’s favour was friendship.
“Dryden Schofield, my best friend for many years, said he was going to play for Kentville. We’ve played together since we were in Gaspereau, and again for all three years at Horton,” he said. “I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to play on the same team as Dryden.”
With Fuller pitching and playing third base, the Wildcats, he feels, have “done OK this season, especially for a first-year team.”
At the recent national elimination tournament, “we started slowly, but we ended up losing 2-1 to Dartmouth, maybe the best team in the province, in the semifinals,” in a game in which Fuller threw a complete game.
“When we’re on our game, we can compete with anybody.” Moreover, the Wildcats will have almost their entire team return next season.
Fuller plans to play baseball again next year; in fact, he says he would like to be able to play both his sports as long as he can.
He is certainly looking forward to the 2014-2015 season at Mount A, where he feels the Mounties “should have a competitive team again this coming year.”
Fuller is studying commerce, although he says, “I’m not sure right now where it will end up taking me.” That, he suggests, “may become clearer this coming year.”
He will be returning to Sackville on the Labour Day weekend, but before that, he has a bit more baseball to play. Not only do the Wildcats have to finish their season, he’ll have one more national performance left.
“I got a call today from Dartmouth, asking me to pitch for them at junior nationals,” he said.
With that tournament Aug. 15-19 in Dartmouth, Fuller will be able to perform on the national stage, and also do it fairly close to home, in front of family and friends.