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BREAKING: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges officially declares for NBA Draft

After a real disappointing finish to the 2017-18 Michigan State Spartans, the buzz surrounding the team revolved around the impending futures of a couple of NBA-caliber players. On Wednesday, one of those two high draft prospects — sophomore Miles Bridges — made his decision to sign with an agent and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft.

Bridges (6-7, 230 pounds) in 62 career games at Michigan State averaging 17 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, leading the Spartans in scoring each of his two seasons. While almost single-handedly leading a depleted MSU team to the NCAA Tournament as a freshman, there was an ongoing debate of whether or not he may return for his sophomore season, after being widely regarded as no worse than a lottery pick in the NBA Draft.

Bridges eventually did make the decision to return for a second year at Michigan State which, coupled with some much-needed depth to the overall roster, the Spartans were perceived as among the favorites to win the national title. That proved to be the case entering this year’s big dance. However, Tom Izzo & Co. were bounced out in the first weekend for a third straight year when they suffered a 55-53 loss to 11-seed Syracuse in the second round at Little Caesars Arena.

Michigan State went through plenty of outside turmoil throughout the second half of the season. A portion of that revolved around Bridges, who was named in a Yahoo! Sports report regarding the FBI investigation into recruiting violations in college basketball. It was reported that Bridges’ mother received a “small loan” from the middleman of a former prominent NBA agent, as well as a meal covered by said middleman.

Bridges and a host of other players across college basketball were subsequently cleared by the NCAA within a day, allowing him to continue playing with the team. Michigan State went on to win the Big Ten regular-season crown but was ousted in the conference tournament semifinals by rival Michigan.

Bridges on Tuesday was named a consensus All-American by the Associated Press, earning second-team honors alongside conference player of the year, Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop. Now having signed with an agent, Bridges is officially into the NBA Draft pool; players who declare and don’t sign with an agent still have the freedom to return to school if they have eligibility remaining.

The jury is still out on what type of NBA player the Flint-native Bridges can be. As a freshman, he was projected to be a mid to lower-level lottery pick. The latest mock drafts have him pegged in that same area even after a second season at MSU.

He offers a lot of energy and athleticism, which bodes well from a versatility standpoint, given that the NBA has gone to more of a position-less league. Still, at 20 years of age, he figures to be a project in some capacity with regards to his shooting and ability to break down defenders at the pro level. He’s what most would call a “tweener” right now, not quite big enough to post up, but not sharp enough from outside.

The 2018 NBA Draft will take place on June 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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