Villanova swingman Mikal Bridges announced his intention to declare for the NBA draft Tuesday after boosting his stock as a junior, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“I bring winning to your team,” Bridges told 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 was a quality role player during his first two seasons with the Wildcats, but he made a serious leap during the 2017-18 campaign.
Working in tandem with Jalen Brunson to comprise one of the nation’s most polished one-two punches, Bridges averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field and a career-high 43.5 percent from three.
“There’s space in the NBA on the floor, and there’s this move toward positionless basketball that I fit into,” Bridges said, per Wojnarowski. “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.”
The 21-year-old also converted a stellar 67.9 percent of his shots at the rim, per Hoop-Math.com.
His impressive season earned him the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year award, per NCAA March Madness:
Congrats to Mikal Bridges on winning the @Hoophall Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award!
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 7, 2018
“My success has been because of a lot of hard work, and a lot of patience,” Bridges told 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.”
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SOURCE: Bleacher Report – Alec Nathan