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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Taking the Next Step

Jaumal Bradley continues to distance himself from a troubled past as he moves into a key role in the Northridge backfield.

October 31, 1998|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"The first time I went to a fast-food place, I stood there for five minutes looking at the menu," Bradley said. "I had forgotten about making my own choices.

"It was hard to develop individuality [at CYA]. We all wore the same clothes, we had the same haircuts."

Bradley transferred to Northridge in the spring, partly because he couldn't accept most of his other Division I offers. One of the parole conditions, no longer in effect, was he couldn't leave the state.

"The only thing I knew about CSUN was the earthquake tore the school up," Bradley said. "I like it here. I'll take our 6,000 fans and run the ball as hard as if I was running in front of 30,000 people."

Ponciano, Northridge's first-year, no-nonsense coach, inherited Bradley from the previous staff. He couldn't be more pleased.

"He is no impostor," Ponciano said. "He wants to make a difference in every phase of his life and he wants to make a difference here at Northridge.

"I'm honored to have Jaumal Bradley as one of my players. When all is said and done, Jaumal Bradley will be one of my proudest stories to tell. I'm already regretting the day when he leaves."

That won't happen for at least another year. Bradley has unfinished business at Northridge, including the pursuit of a degree in urban studies.

"My book, my story, is in the first two chapters," Bradley said. "There's so much I want to accomplish.

"I laughed the hardest I've ever laughed in jail and I had some of my saddest times in jail. It's something I'll never forget."

His daughter won't let him.

Cal State Northridge vs. Weber State

What: Big Sky Conference game

When: Today, 12:05 p.m.

Where: Stewart Stadium

Fast fact: Northridge is 2-2 in Ogden, Utah

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