EAST LANSING, Mich. — The decision may have come a year later than most had expected, but Miles Bridges is heading to the NBA Draft.
Following two seasons with the Michigan State Spartans, the former five-star recruit from Flint, MI officially declared for the 2018 NBA Draft. He announced his decision via Twitter, indicating that he was signing with an agent, foregoing his remaining two years of eligibility in the NCAA.
Bridges was expected to be a top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but he shocked everyone when he opted to return to East Lansing for a second season with the Spartans. Now, following another exit in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, Bridges is ready to take his game to the next level.
Here’s the tweet that Bridges sent out on his account on Wednesday.
The text reads: “God couldn’t have placed me in a better place for these last two years. I wanna thank Coach Izzo and the rest of the coaching staff for giving a skinny kid from Flint a chance to play at such a legendary program. I would like to thank the academic support for helping me out everyday. I also want to thank Spartan Nation for welcoming me with open arms into their community and school. And last but not least, I would like to thank my teammates for the bond and memories that we will share for a lifetime. I will be a Spartan for life, no matter what!! With that being said, I am entering the 2018 NBA Draft and I am signing with Rich Paul an Klutch Sports.”
It’s a decision that many expected to come after the Spartans fell in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. Michigan State fell to the Syracuse Orange in Detroit, MI, 55-53.
This season, the 6’7” Bridges averaged 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. He shot 45.7% from the field, and 85.3% from the free throw line. Bridges was a consensus All-American selection, marking the 11th Spartan to earn such an honour during Izzo’s tenure.
Bridges posted 29 points in the Spartans’ win over the Bucknell Bison in the First Round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. He had 30 games with double-digit points over the course of the year.
As a freshman in 2016-17, Bridges earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honours after averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
Bridges is one of five finalists for the Julius Erving Small Forward award, which is awarded to the top small forward in the country. He is also among the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Award.
Despite leaving a school a year later than most expected, many mock drafts still have Bridges projected as a lottery pick in this year’s draft. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Bridges ranked as the 11th-best prospect in his latest draft rankings.
– T. Bennett