Tom Izzo explains why Miles Bridges decided to return to Michigan State
The deadline to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft was Sunday night, and the biggest name who elected to return to school was unquestionably Michigan State’s Miles Bridges. Virtually every outlet pegged him as a lottery pick had he declared, but instead, the 6-foot-7 wing decided to return to college after averaging nearly 17 points per game as a freshman.
For Bridges it seems like it’d be a tough decision (he could have been a millionaire overnight if he’d gone pro) but according to his college coach it really wasn’t hard at all. Tom Izzo joined “The Sidelines” podcast with FS1 college basketball insider Evan Daniels this week, and discussed the process which had Bridges return to school.
“The decision for him wasn’t that hard,” Izzo said. “That’s what was so impressive. I spent three weeks almost trying to talk him into it. Or at least going through the process so we could really find out [just how high he would be drafted].”
Izzo continued later in the interview.
“It was really bizarre. Most people won’t believe this, but I probably spent more time talking him into going [pro] than out of going, and to his credit, he did what he wanted to do. And he really could have made his decision [to stay] three weeks earlier. But we really held him off so we could do some research and talk to him and his mom, who kind of wanted him to go.”
But to his credit, Bridges did what was best for him and no one else.
So what were Bridges’ reasons for staying? Izzo explained:
“The guy is an unbelievable kid. He had his goals and what he wanted to achieve personally. We talked about, yeah he wants to get to a Final Four, every kid does. [Denzel] Valentine and those guys just two years, we had a Final Four team that got beat in the first game. So I had to tell him that.
But he also has some things he has to work on. He doesn’t want to go there and be in the D-League like a lot of people. The money was important, but not the end all means all. He likes college, he enjoyed what he was doing.”
While so many prospects are in a rush to get to the pros, it sounds like Bridges really did weigh his options and consider everything. It should only help his draft stock going forward (he could go top-5 in 2018) and it will certainly help Michigan State, which was ranked in the Top 10 of FOX Sports’ Way Too Early Top 25 for 2018. With Bridges’ return they could be No. 1 by the time next season starts.
The conversation about Bridges was just one part of a wide-ranging interview between Izzo and Daniels, one which included topics ranging from coaching a young Draymond Green, to how Izzo would fix the transfer epidemic in college basketball.
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