Mikal Bridges

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Mikal Bridges
20170213 Villanova-Depaul Mikal Bridges on the move.jpg
Bridges in 2017
No. 25 – Phoenix Suns
Position Small forward / Shooting guard
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1996-08-30) August 30, 1996 (age 21)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 209 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school Great Valley (Malvern, Pennsylvania)
College Villanova (2015–2018)
NBA draft 2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers
Playing career 2018–present
Career history
2018–present Phoenix Suns
Career highlights and awards

Mikal Bridges (born August 30, 1996) is an American professional basketball player for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Villanova Wildcats, winning national championships in 2016 and 2018.

High school career[edit]

Bridges attended Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, where he was coached by Jim Nolan.[1] He began to get serious about basketball in his sophomore year, when he had a growth spurt to reach 6-6.[2] As a junior, he averaged 20 points and eight rebounds per game. During his senior season, he was named First Team All Class AAAA. He posted averages of 18.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals per game as a senior. Bridges was named to the Philadelphia Inquirer's All-Southeastern Pa., boys basketball first team as a senior. In his career, he had 1,340 points and 511 rebounds. Coming out of high school, he was ranked by ESPNU as the 82nd best player nationally, and committed to Villanova in June 2013.[3][4]

College career[edit]

Freshman[edit]

Bridges redshirted his freshman season and assisted in scouting players.[5] In his first year with Villanova he appeared in all 40 games for the Wildcats. He said he had to do a lot of lifting weights and changing his three point shot.[6] He had a key role coming off the bench in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, scoring 11 points in a Final Four rout of the Oklahoma Sooners. Bridges won the NCAA championship along with his teammates for the school for the first time since 1985. He averaged 6.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game as a freshman.[3] "He came in as a high school scoring phenom like they all do, so I'm really proud of how he has opened up his game defensively," coach Jay Wright said.[7]

Sophomore[edit]

Bridges dunking against DePaul in 2017

Coming into the 2016-17 season, Bridges was slated to be the team's sixth man but started every game after Phil Booth went down with a knee injury in November. As a sophomore, Joe Juliano of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, "If there is such a thing as a five-tool player in college basketball, Mikal Bridges is the model."[6] He became well-regarded as a lanky forward who could score and play excellent defense and often guarded the opposing team's best player.[7] In the NCAA Tournament, he scored 13 points to help Villanova to a first round victory over Mount St. Mary's. Bridges averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while making 54 percent of his field goal attempts and 39 percent of three point tries.[3] He improved his scoring as the season progressed, averaging 12.3 points in his last 12 games of the regular season. Along with Creighton's Khyri Thomas and teammate Josh Hart, Bridges was one of three Big East defensive player of the year honorees, being third in the conference in steals with 1.9 per game.[6]

Junior[edit]

He was named to the 2017–18 preseason All-Big East second team.[8] Bridges hit all six 3-point tries in a 24-point performance against Lafayette on November 17.[9] On December 4, he scored a career-high 28 points to go with six rebounds and two blocks in an 88-72 victory over Gonzaga.[10] Bridges scored 23 points in an overtime win against Seton Hall on March 2, 2018.[2] At the conclusion of the regular season, he joined Jalen Brunson on the All-Big East first team.[11] He was named MVP of the Big East Tournament after scoring 28 points in the title game, a 76-66 overtime win over Providence.[12]

As a junior Bridges averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on 51 percent shooting, including 43.5 percent on 3-pointers. He received the Julius Erving Award for best small forward. On April 10, 2018, Bridges announced his intention to forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility and declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, where he was the 10th selection in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers. Later, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the 16th pick, Zhaire Smith, and an unprotected 2021 first round pick.[13]

College statistics[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2015–16 Villanova 40 0 20.3 .521 .299 .787 3.2 .9 1.1 .7 6.4
2016–17 Villanova 36 33 29.8 .549 .393 .911 4.6 2.0 1.7 .9 9.8
2017–18 Villanova 40 40 32.2 .514 .435 .851 5.3 1.9 1.5 1.1 17.7
Career 116 73 27.3 .525 .400 .845 4.3 1.6 1.4 .9 11.3

Professional career[edit]

Phoenix Suns (2018–present)[edit]

On June 21, 2018, Bridges was selected with the tenth overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2018 NBA draft.[14] Besides being a Philadelphia-area player (and the first of four Villanova players drafted this year), Bridges's mother, Tyneeha Rivers, is the Vice President of Human Resources for Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, which hires for the 76ers.[15] Soon after, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns.[16] Bridges would then join the Phoenix Suns' 2018 NBA Summer League squad alongside #1 pick DeAndre Ayton and the rest of the team's younger players on July 1, 2018.[17] He would sign his proper, rookie-scaled contract with the Suns five days later.[18] In his Summer League debut, Bridges recorded 14 points on nearly perfect shooting (including 4/5 from the three-point line) and 3 rebounds in a 92–85 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Toohey, Terry (March 16, 2017). "Bridges stood tall when Villanova needed him most". Delaware County Daily Times. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Juliano, Joe (March 3, 2018). "For Villanova's Mikal Bridges, there's more to success than talent". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 26, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c "Mikal Bridges Bio". Villanova Wildcats. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Mikal Bridges, Villanova Wildcats, Small Forward". 247Sports. Retrieved April 12, 2016. 
  5. ^ Frank, Reuben (March 16, 2016). "NCAA Tournament: Mikal Bridges, from redshirt to 'vital part'". CSN Philly. Retrieved July 5, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Juliano, Joe (March 6, 2017). "Mikal Bridges doing a little bit of everything for Villanova". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 5, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Frank, Reuben (March 14, 2017). "For Villanova, Mikal Bridges Has Become A Defensive Specialist". CSN Philly. Retrieved July 5, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Villanova Viewed As League Favorite Again". BigEast.com. Big East Conference. October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Bridges perfect from 3, No. 5 Villanova blows out Lafayette". ESPN. Associated Press. November 17, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2018. 
  10. ^ Stubbs, Roman (December 5, 2017). "Villanova's Mikal Bridges puts on a show at Madison Square Garden". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 5, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Bluiett, Brunson, Martin unanimous Big East first team". USA Today. Associated Press. March 4, 2018. Retrieved March 31, 2018. 
  12. ^ Juliano, Joe (March 10, 2018). "Villanova spurts late in overtime, wins Big East title, 76-66, over Providence". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 31, 2018. 
  13. ^ Wojnarowski, Adrian (April 10, 2018). "Villanova's Mikal Bridges to bypass final season, enter NBA draft". ESPN. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  14. ^ "NBA Draft 2018: Sixers pick Villanova's Mikal Bridges at No. 10". NJ.com. Retrieved June 21, 2018. 
  15. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uc37rMkxh0
  16. ^ "Suns Add Ayton, Bridges, Okobo, King In 2018 NBA Draft". Suns.com. June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018. 
  17. ^ https://www.nba.com/suns/press-release/suns-announce-2018-summer-league-roster
  18. ^ https://www.nba.com/suns/press-release/phoenix-suns-sign-ayton-bridges-okoboking

External links[edit]