Mikal Bridges opens up about working his way into Villanova’s starting lineup

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Mikal Bridges talks about his journey into Villanova's starting lineup after taking a red shirt early in his career.

MIKAL BRIDGES: I love my [INAUDIBLE] to death. It's a blessing and an advantage, you know. Everything I do is great. Happy I have it. To think my parents were just every day [INAUDIBLE]

PHIL BOOTH: His length caused so many problems. The way he can really disrupt offenses. He's just like a nuisance. It's how he just gets every deflection. Blocking a lot of shots. He really, when he's up the top of our game, my defenses tend to another level.

JALEN BRUNSON: Having him on the top of our [INAUDIBLE] really does make things a lot easier. He's able to get deflections. He's able to impact the game in so many ways.

JAY WRIGHT: Well defensively, Mikal can go in any position on the floor, literally one through five. In addition to that, he's the guy that can go make spectacular plays defensively.

- Rejected by Mikal Bridges!

- You're never safe around him.

JAY WRIGHT: I think Mikal was about 175 pounds when he came in. And when we did drills in the summer, early in the season when there wasn't a lot of live situations, he looked great. When we got into October, November and we were live final five physical defensive drills, he was getting knocked all over the place. It didn't faze him, but we could see that physically it was going to be difficult for him to compete in the Big East that year, and that's why we decided to red shirt him.

MIKAL BRIDGES: I was very, very, very frail. It was difficult, you know. Playing against you know real mature guys freshman year. You know, I lifted four times a week and I will practice every day and have extra workouts. And my body was going through it. Obviously I wanted to gain more but it's difficult in the season. As hard as we play, you sweat a lot. You lose a lot calories when you play so just my thing is throughout the season, especially this year, I lift throughout the year more than I usually do. And just stay consistently at like 205 throughout the whole season. What I'm doing now is just keep trying to do that.

- Bridges puts it on the floor. Speeds to the hoop. And then a jam.

JAY WRIGHT: We can use him on the perimeter. We can post him up. He can go off the dribble. But he also is the guy that can come up with that thundering dunk. He can come up with that incredible tap in that you don't know where he came from.

- Bridges!

- Where did that come from?

JAY WRIGHT: So he's got the ability on both ends of the floor to make spectacular plays.

MIKAL BRIDGES: You know, trying build us up. And you know, try going and run it. It's for my teammates man. It's not for the crowds. Not for the [INAUDIBLE] for my teammates and coaches.