2018 NBA Draft: Villanova's Mikal Bridges, a possible lottery pick, is leaving school early for the draft
Bridges was a two-time NCAA champion with the Wildcats
One week after playing an instrumental role in Villanova's 2018 NCAA Tournament run that concluded with a championship victory over Michigan, Wildcats star Mikal Bridges has opted to forego his final year of college eligibility and enter the 2018 NBA Draft.
Bridges, a two-time national champion at Villanova, is projected as a lottery pick who, on paper, will fit seamlessly in the modern NBA. With his ability to his 3-pointers at an elite clip (43.5 percent last season) and lock down team's best defenders, he's a potential plug-and-play two-way player at the next level who stands at a stout 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan.
"I bring winning to your team," Bridges, a two-time NCAA champion at Villanova, 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."
Although Bridges development spanned several years, the redshirt junior has budded from a project piece into a legitimate collegiate star with accolades to boot. He was named an All-American in 2017-18 after averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and earned honors as the Big East Conference Tournament's Most Valuable Player on a team that is flush with pro potential at nearly every position.
I'm not sure anybody, outside of Trae Young, has helped himself more this season with NBA people than Bridges -- who is averaging 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting a career-best (and impressive) 42.0 percent from 3-point range in 32.5 minutes per game for a Villanova team that finished the regular season 27-4. More than anything, the 6-7 wing is making "pro shots" more regularly than ever and doing most of the things any NBA team would want him to do at the next level. His ability to guard multiple positions makes him somebody who could theoretically contribute to a playoff team on Opening Night.
Bridges is expected to complete his degree in May. While his departure certainly makes Villanova's 2018 outlook a smidge more grim, the Wildcats, a top-5 team in the Donte DiVincenzo likely returning as a feature star next season.for 2018, appear to be in good hands with NCAA Tournament MOP
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Why a voter in the AP Top 25 was the only one who left the Jayhawks, Blue Devils and Vols out...
Few challenges NCAA President Mark Emmert to 'be a leader' and punish schools who broke the...
Gonzaga fell from No. 1 to No. 6 after it lost to Tennessee, which jumped from No. 7 to No....
Gonzaga falls from No. 1 to No. 4 after losing to the Vols
Bill Self's undefeated Kansas Jayhawks remain No. 1 in our updated rankings
Gary Parrish and Matt Norlander also discuss Kansas' close call with New Mexico State