Miles Bridges leaves MSU to enter NBA draft, signs agent
MSU sophomore wing Miles Bridges announced Wednesday on Twitter he will not return to play for the Spartans next season and rather enter the 2018 NBA draft and sign with an agent.
Bridges, a consensus second-team All-American, will sign with agent Rich Paul and Klutch Sports.
Bridges will end his MSU career with averages of 17.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 45.7 field goal percentage in 34 games this season to aid the Spartans to a 30-5 record.
"God couldn't have placed me in a better place for these last two years," Bridges said over Twitter. "I wanna thank Coach Izzo and the rest of the coaching staff for giving a skinny kid from Flint a chance to play at such a legendary program.
"I would like to thank the academic support for helping me out every day. I also want to thank Spartan Nation for welcoming me with open arms into their community and school. And last but not least I would like to thank my teammates for the bond and memories that we will share for a lifetime. I will be a spartan for life no matter what!!"
Bridges was a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection by coaches and media this season. The 6-foot-7 wing also was the 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and led MSU to its third outright regular season conference title in Izzo's 23 seasons.
He was one of only four players in the country averaging at least 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.8 blocks per game.
After a lengthy discussion with MSU coach Tom Izzo, Bridges said he had come to an agreement.
“Miles wanted to come back to school this year because he loved Michigan State, he loved his teammates and friends and he loved being part of this community,” Izzo said in a release. “I think I speak for all of Spartan Nation in thanking him for how he represented us and for all of the great things he helped us achieve. He’s given us everything we could ask for and so much more. Miles is a mature young man who has excelled on the court and has been an exemplary student. I think he’s ready to handle being a pro basketball player both on and off the court. More than anything, he conducted himself with the utmost class and humility. As his coach, it’s a thrill for me to see him getting the chance to live his dream and I look forward to following his career in the NBA.”
Many thought Bridges would declare for the 2017 draft after last season, but held a public meeting at the Sparty statue on campus to announce his return for this season. He averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and shot 48.6 percent from the floor in 28 games.
Bridges was surrounded by controversy in February when a report from Yahoo Sports alleged he and family members had met and received benefits from Christian Dawkins, the former middleman of NBA agent Andy Miller, which would be an NCAA violation.
According to records obtained by Yahoo, Miles Bridges' family received a dinner at the Redwood Lodge in Flint for $70.05 and an "ATM Withdrawal" advance for $400.
Bridges denied ever knowing such transaction existed, but an investigation from the university found he was in minor violation of NCAA rules and had to donate $40 to charity on Feb. 27.
Bridges is projected by the Bleacher Report to be a lottery pick, and go No. 11 overall to the Charlotte Hornets. The draft begins on June 21.
Bridges is the first Spartan to declare early for the draft since forward Deyonta Davis left for the 2016 NBA draft.
It is unclear at the time this article was published if freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. will enter the draft. The 6-foot-10 forward is highly considered a top-5 pick in this year's draft.