Villanova Wildcats All-America forward Mikal Bridges to bypass senior season, enter NBA draft


Villanova junior All-American Mikal Bridges will bypass his last 12 months of eligibility and enter the NBA draft, the place he’s projected to be a lottery decide, he instructed ESPN.

Bridges, a two-time nationwide champion and the 2018 Julius Erving Award winner as the highest small ahead in school basketball, is taken into account one of many elite two-way gamers on this draft class. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Bridges 10th total in his most up-to-date mock draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-2 wing span, Bridges is a prototypical multi-positional prospect for the brand new NBA. His skill to defend a number of positions, shoot Three-pointers and slash to the basket has league executives suspecting he may very well be an much more impactful professional than collegian.

“I bring winning to your team,” Bridges instructed ESPN. “I learned about that at Villanova, what is a winning, championship atmosphere and what you’ve got to do to achieve it. You have to always be locked in. Two championships in three years — not a lot of people have done that.”

Bridges, 21, was the Huge East Convention Event Participant of the 12 months and a cornerstone drive behind Villanova successful its second nationwide title in three seasons. Villanova defeated Michigan for the NCAA championship this month.

“There’s space in the NBA on the floor, and there’s this move toward position-less basketball that I fit into,” Bridges instructed ESPN. “I can shoot the ball. I can defend. I can move without the ball. I’m progressing in my game, getting better through work every day.”

Bridges developed from a redshirt freshman out of close by Malvern, Pennsylvania, to a sophomore contributor on the 2016 nationwide title staff to a full-blown star completely positioned to make the leap into the draft lottery. As a junior, Bridges averaged 17.7 factors, 5.Three rebounds and 51 p.c taking pictures — together with 43.5 p.c on Three-pointers.

“My success has been because of a lot of hard work and a lot of patience,” Bridges instructed ESPN. “My first year in college, that was the longest time I ever sat out. Villanova and the coaches helped me to build a really strong work ethic. I didn’t have as much of an ethic my freshman year, but I was pushed a lot by my coaches and that helped get me to become the player that I am.”

Two NBA forwards who most intrigue Bridges: Oklahoma Metropolis’s Paul George and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.

“The thing about them: They weren’t phenoms when they came out of school,” Bridges stated. “They weren’t always on top and dominating. They were very low-key guys. They kept getting better and better.”

Bridges will obtain his undergraduate diploma in Might.

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