The Venom/BH3 15U (ninth grade) AAU basketball team, made up of players from Durant, Riverview and Newsome High Schools, played inspired basketball at the AAU World Championships at Disney in mid-July, earning third place overall.
The club played to honor their teammate, James Bradley Hulett II, who passed away last December in a tragic shooting accident. Throughout the tournament, in which they went 5-1, Hulett’s number 3 jersey was draped over an empty chair at the end of the bench.
Co-owner of the club Patrick Horn changed the name of his Venom Basketball Club to Venom/BH3 in honor of Hulett, who went by Bradley and joined the team in 2018 as their star player. Bradley’s father, James Bradley Hulett, who goes by Brad, is the other co-owner of the team and coaches two of the five teams (10th grade and 10th grade varsity) in the program called BH3 Foundation, a nonprofit organization.
Venom/BH3 was able to go to the world championships because they were sponsored by Brad’s nonprofit foundation, started by a group of his friends in honor of his son.
“To honor Bradley and his family, the kids played with passion and like something was on the line,” said Horn.
According to Horn, his team won every game by 30 points or more leading into the semifinals, where they lost 76-70 to a team from North Carolina.
“Everything we have done this season has been a dedication to Bradley. The kids play for a bigger purpose than just themselves,” he said.
Horn and Bradley had a special coach/player relationship. He remembers joking with Bradley on the bench and always being able to talk basketball with him. Horn recalls struggling as a program in 2017 when the club first started until Bradley and his father joined in 2018. Horn credits the Huletts with helping change the culture of the club.
“When the accident happened, it was really hard on everyone, including our players and coaches, and that’s one of the major reasons I decided that everything we do from now on will be for Bradley, in his honor, because he deserves that. He was a special kid. Not only was he really, really good at basketball, but he really, really was a good soul. He was a kind kid. He never said anything bad about anybody, he was the kid that would sit and eat lunch with a bullied kid,” said Horn.
The team wears bracelets that have “kindness matters” written on them to remember Bradley’s legacy of being a kind and caring person.
Horn appreciates Brad and his wife, Meagan, and views them as special people because ever since he has known them, they have cared for and loved everybody’s kids, not just their own. He says that Brad is still showing up to practices and takes his teams to tournaments and coaches them, and Meagan goes to a lot of the games to support the team.
“It’s really a testament to how strong the Hulett family is,” said Horn. “It’s really inspirational.”
The James Bradley Hulett II Youth Basketball Discretionary Fund is a nonprofit organization that was started in February of this year to help provide financial support to youth basketball players, teams and organizations in the Tampa area.
The organization wants to provide scholarships to students in the future. Brad hopes to have a 3v3 basketball tournament next February to help raise funds. If you would like to give a donation to the cause, visit BH3Fund.org.
“It’s a good way to carry on his son’s legacy and to make sure that Bradley is never forgotten,” said Horn.