Michigan State super-freshman Miles Bridges announced Thursday night that he will be returning to school instead of opting for the NBA Draft in June. Bridges made the announcement standing before the Sparty statue in front of a huge crowd on campus.
— Ryan Cole (@ryan_cole9) April 13, 2017
The decision comes as quite the surprise as Bridges, a 6-foot-7 wing who was projected to go in the lottery, was the 12th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft by ESPN’s Chad Ford prior to this announcement. The Flint native averaged 16.9 points per game, the most for a Spartan freshman since Magic Johnson in 1977-1978. He also averaged 8.3 rebounds, which was the most since Greg Kesler’s freshman total in 1976-1977.
— Spartan Vision (@Spartan_Vision) April 13, 2017
Bridges mentioned that sources told him he would fall somewhere in the 8-14 range but thinks he could possibly be in the top five if he declared after another year. Support didn’t come all around as Bridges’ mother, Cynthia, thought her son should have chosen otherwise.
The following is from Cynthia Bridges to ESPN:
“I would go to the NBA,” Cynthia Bridges acknowledged. “But I’m not the basketball player. Miles is.”
A strong, powerful player at 230 pounds with extra-terrestrial athleticism, Bridges lives above the rim. Whether it’s his highlight dunks, blocks, or his ability to grab boards by the bunches, another year of school could help refine an already developing offensive repertoire.
Miles Bridges’ vertical. This is nuts. pic.twitter.com/D68Ey5hc2K
— NBA Bulletin (@TheNBABulletin) July 3, 2016
With the decision to return to school, Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo will be in prime condition to chase his second title. Izzo appeared to tear up standing next to Bridges, “I thought he was going and assumed he would go,” the coach told ESPN. Bridges came into Michigan State in the most touted recruiting-class in school history; a class that certainty lived up to the hype. Center Nick Ward, and guards Josh Landford and Cassius Stanley all joined Bridges as the team’s top-five scorers, leading to what could be a very special year in East Lansing come next fall.