WISE, Va. (WJHL) – It turned out to be a banner year for UVA Wise men’s basketball this winter, as the Highland Cavs dazzled down the stretch.

The team finished the year with a 19-12 record, but won five of its last seven games, including an exhilarating run in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament. The Cavs sunk a late three-pointer to sneak past Newberry College in the quarterfinals, then blasted past nationally-ranked Lincoln Memorial, 86-78, to book a spot in the conference championship, where the squad fell short to Catawba.

One of the common denominators in those games, and throughout the season – sophomore guard Bradley Dean.

The Gate City native impressed at every turn this season – from helping high school teammate, Mac McClung, win an NBA Slam Dunk Contest title to SAC Player of the Year honors.

Dean led the conference, averaging 21.4 points per game, while also dishing out 3.9 assists. He was named First Team all-conference and All-Southeast region.

The young man contributes all of his in-season accolades to the consistent effort and preparation he put into his game last summer.

“You know I worked really hard on my game,” he sad in a recent Zoom call with NewsChannel 11. “I worked really hard over the summer. After last season I knew the role I was going to step in. I really just worked hard – kinda just feels like my senior year at Gate City – the leader of the team, most nights I’m probably going to take the most shots and I just tried to get as ready for that role as I can.”

Dean has since announced his entry into the transfer portal, seeking the possibility of a new role with a new team. He has two years of college eligibility remaining.