Michigan State's coaching staff started recruiting Miles Bridges early on and made him a priority for the 2016 class. Following Bridges' official visit on September 12, rumors were swirling that MSU became the favorite for the 5 star forward out of Flint. Once his AAU teammate Cassius Winston committed and Bridges tweeted out that he was making his announcement at Mott Community College in Flint, the writing seemed to be on the wall that he was coming to MSU. Bridges is ranked #12 by 247Sports' composite ranking and his commitment once again gives MSU the #1 recruiting class in 2016. Bridges commitment gives MSU its highest ranked player since Shannon Brown in the 2003 and right now it's arguably a top 2 Izzo class of all time with his 2000 class with Zach Randolph and Marcus Taylor. Standing at around 6-7 and weighing about 225 pounds, Bridges' size along with his athleticism will allow him to play either small forward or power forward at MSU which doesn't typically play with two traditional bigs on the floor. I'm guessing he'll start at the 4 as a freshman and he'll be competing for playing time mostly against Marvin Clark as Deyonta Davis is likely to be used more at the 5 with just Davis, Gavin Schilling, and Nick Ward as true bigs for 2016-17. As a junior at Huntington Prep he averaged 15.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.3 steals, and 2.8 blocks. Here are his AAU stats from the Nike EYBL this summer.
|Miles Bridges Nike EYBL Total Stats|
First of all Bridges is a great rebounder for his height. Second I showed the splits because he was missing his teammate Winston for 8 of the 17 games in the regular season and his efficiency reflected that. At the Peach Jam (essentially the playoffs) with Winston he averaged 23.4 points and 10 rebounds with an astounding 66.8 TS%.
Some quotes from Jerry Meyer of 247Sports from this summer:
"I loved Miles when I first watched him," said 247Sports national analyst Jerry Meyer. "But then I really became concerned that he was just a power player. Would he have the perimeter skills as a ball handler and a passer and shooter to play the wing?"
"He's been terrific on the travel circuit, and especially this past weekend," Meyer said. "He was out of sight."
"The shooting — it just gives him another dimension that is enormous," Meyer said. "You can't play off of him. You have to respect his shot. ... He's shooting with confidence right now, and that's the big difference.
"When a player like that makes threes like he made them, he's virtually unguardable."
From a SportingNews article written by Mike DeCourcy this summer:
He is best described as a forward with no particular modifier because he could play either of the two positions in college, and because he is willing to play either of those positions. He figures to be an ideal stretch-4 in NCAA basketball because of his uncommon combination of toughness and perimeter skill, but if he happened to join a team with two capable big men he surely could handle playing more frequently on the wing.
"I’m just an all-around player. I work on that every day, every time I go to the gym: ballhandling, shooting, everything," Bridges said. "If a coach has a good impression of me playing a position, that’s where I’m going to play. I’m not going to argue about it."
Asked which NBA player he tries to use as a model for his game, Bridges chose Indiana Pacers star Paul George. A more apt comparison might be Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, whose strength, length and versatility very much resemble what one sees from Bridges.
DraftExpress also has some analysis on him that agrees with many out there (including me) saying he'd play best at power forward in college including the phrase "he'll be an absolute nightmare of a matchup as a four at the college level." A couple recent college players I might compare him to are Justise Winslow and Glenn Robinson III.
Remaining 2016 Target and look at the roster
Bridges could quite possibly be a one-and-done type of player with his combination of size, athleticism, and respectable shooting. At the moment, I'm assuming Bridges would start at one of the forward positions with his position depending on big of a lineup Izzo chooses to go with.
With no more scholarships available for the 2016 class, it would appear that the Izzo can shut it down to get ready for this upcoming season and start recruiting the 2017 class. However, it appears as though Izzo isn't done yet as he's focused his efforts on bringing in consensus top 3 player Josh Jackson from Detroit. Both Sean Scherer and Jerry Meyer made predictions on 247Sports crystal ball for Jackson to go to MSU (take it with a grain of salt but Sean usually has good reasons for his picks). Jackson has yet to take any official visits but MSU is very likely to be one of the schools to get one. Bridges and Jackson appear to be friends (Meyer said there's a strong connection between Jackson-MSU) and that may ultimately help in landing Jackson. However, for MSU to land Jackson there has to be room with either a transfer or someone declaring early for the draft (here's a tweet I sent out with some speculative thoughts thrown in there).