Freshman phenom Miles Bridges is leading the charge to propel Michigan State back into the NCAA Tournament for a 20th consecutive season. He and the other trio of touted freshman that head coach Tom Izzo has gone to more as of late have been the talk of town since they signed their national letters of intent.
The Flint-native Bridges (6-foot-7, 230 pounds) was the focal point of this top-tier freshman class for Izzo. The consensus was that he would be a one-and-done player, a likely first-round draft pick and potential lottery selection. The belief that a second year at MSU was not in the cards.
Although, ask Miles’ dad Raymond and he’ll tell you that it’d be good for both his kid and the program if he returned for his sophomore campaign. The elder Bridges recently went on a radio show in Lansing (WLNS) saying he thinks his son could strongly consider coming back to MSU for one more season.
“Yeah. Another good year. Bring a couple more big men in. Let him run the wing,” Raymond Bridges said.
When asked if Miles would be back, Raymond said, “Yeah. Yeah.”
“If he runs that wing, he’s going to be tough. See right now he’s checking all them 7-footers and he’s only 6-7,” Raymond Bridges said. “You get another big man in there, then the wings can start going to the basket and make things happen.”
Raymond Bridges is making not of the front court depth, or lack thereof, that Michigan State has dealt with all season long due to the injuries of seniors Ben Carter and Gavin Schilling before the season started. It’s not only forced fellow freshman Nick Ward to up his game drastically, but also forced Bridges to post up down low more than perhaps the team initially imagined.
Bridges’ father feels that one season of consistently playing on the wing as the 3-man would do him some good for his professional future. Entering Saturday’s season finale against Maryland, he is currently the team’s leading scorer (16.5 PPG) and rebounder (8.3 RPG). Bridges is also second to only fellow freshman Joshua Langford in three-point shooting (41.3 percent; minimum 50 attempts).
The team is hoping to get medical redshirts and an extra year of eligibility for both Schilling and Carter. However, the latter has a lot more hurdles to jump over than the former regarding that process, given this is his fifth collegiate season and he’s missed significant time in the past. The team also has two signed letters of intent from two top-20 power forwards next season: 5-star Jaren Jackson (La Porte, IN) and 4-star Xavier Tillman (Grand Rapids, MI).
Depending on how the Schilling/Carter stories finish out, it could factor into Bridges’ decision. Should he decide to declare anyway, he would have until May 24, ten days after completion of the NBA Draft Combine, if he wants to remove his name from draft consideration.