California dreamin’: Player development key reason QHS’s Longcor commits to Santa Clara


Quincy High School senior guard Bradley Longcor III committed to Santa Clara last week and will head into his final season with the Blue Devils on the verge of becoming one of the top 10 scorers in program history. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The map shows Santa Clara, Calif., is nearly 2,000 miles away, but Bradley Longcor III doesn’t see it as being nearly that far.

“We realized the plane flight is four hours,” the Quincy High School basketball standout said. “The other schools recruiting me are four hours away, too, except that’s a car ride instead of a plane ride. So it’s not that big of a difference.”

Still, playing college basketball two time zones away from his hometown was a concern.

“But you have to grow up at some point,” Longcor said. “You have to leave the house at some point. Once I thought about that, that’s when this became OK for me and my family.”

So Longcor decided to make California dreamin’ a reality.

The 6-foot-3 all-state point guard and 2024 Muddy River Sports Player of the Year committed to the Santa Clara men’s basketball program last weekend, and his announcement led to an incredible outpouring of support across multiple social media platforms.

“I definitely felt it,” Longcor said. “It’s good to know people around here are rooting for me already. It showed actual love.”

Longcor burst onto the prep basketball scene as a freshman, setting the QHS freshman scoring record with 454 points during the 2021-22 season. Since then, he’s accumulated 1,297 career points, which ranks 12th in program history, and has helped the Blue Devils go 85-15 the past three seasons with three regional titles and a sectional title.

He was named the Western Big 6 Conference MVP last season along with being a first-team Class 4A all-state selection by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.

Still, making a state tournament appearance is what he wants above all else, especially with a group that likely will have two more college players in Keshaun Thomas and Dom Clay.

“We grew up together since second grade, the same team all the way up,” Longcor said. “Now this is our last run. We’re going to put everything into it.”

Longcor will do so without the constant barrage of recruiters.

“It’s definitely less stress,” Longcor said.

He also knows he is committed to a competitive program that produces great players.

Santa Clara finished 20-13 last season and fourth in the West Coast Conference with a 10-6 record. The Broncos have won 20 or more games in each of the last four full seasons and produced first-round NBA draft picks in Jalen Williams in 2022 and Brandin Podziemski 2023.

Williams has averaged 14 or more points in two seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and was an NBA All-Rookie team selection in 2023. Podziemski became the first rookie in NBA history to have nine-plus rebounds, six-plus assists, five-plus steals, and three-plus 3-pointers in a single game when he did so against the Denver Nuggets. He also made the NBA All-Rookie team this year.

Seeing that reaffirmed what the Broncos told Longcor during his official visit.

“The playing style is the first thing I liked about Santa Clara. It’s a good fit,” Longcor said. “Then I got the chance to talk to three of the players and they kept it very real with me. They told me the player development was top notch. They said if you come here to stick it out because you’re going to get better. Hearing that from the players’ point of view did a lot for me.

“These are guys who went through a lot of the same things I’m going through. They understand how Santa Clara can make you better.”

It’s also where he gets to live out a boyhood dream.

“When you’re in third grade, you’re like, ‘I want to be a D-1 player. I want to go that school or that school or that school,’” Longcor said. “To be committed to a school like that is exciting. But I know the work’s not done yet. I’m going to keep working. I’m going to keep working once I get there.”

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