Alex Roux, BTN.com editor, April 13, 2017
Miles Bridges' decision to put the NBA on hold and return to Michigan State is great for everyone invested in the the Spartans program.
It's great for the team, the fans, Tom Izzo and the Spartans' Big Ten and national title hopes. And of course, it's great for Bridges himself, as he clearly weighed his options carefully and made the decision that would have the best chance to give him both short and long-term happiness.
For selfish reasons, I'm also thrilled Bridges is coming back, because he was far and away the Big Ten's most exciting player to watch last season. His brand of above-the-rim buckets rarely stays in college more than one season, especially when it's accompanied by a 38 percent stroke from beyond the arc and above-average handles for a 6-7 forward. We'll get to see more feats of ridiculous athleticism for at least one more year, which is good news for all college hoops fans.
Below are the top five plays from Bridges' freshman season:
Block and alley-oop vs. Rutgers: This play encapsulated what made Bridges so fantastic, as he got the swat on one end and the finish on the other. And I mean finish. It was the type of alley-oop that you could see developing the whole way, and I was practically begging my TV for Cassius Winston to lob it up. And he did:
Alley-oop off the glass vs. Nebraska: The off-glass finish is rare in college hoops these days, but it wasn't quite as impressive as the 'oop vs. Rutgers. Still, it was an insane feat of athleticism, aided by another pretty feed from Winston:
360 dunk in the Big Ten Tournament: A 360 dunk is about as rare as an off-glass lob, and there was no better way to endear himself to the Big Ten Tourney crowd than by pulling off a spin cycle:
Chase-down block against Iowa: This block against the Hawkeyes was unmistakable in its resemblance to LeBron James' rejection of Andre Iguodala in last summer's NBA Finals. This type of block makes sense in The League, but is pretty preposterous in the college game.
Post spin and reverse slam against FGCU: This sequence came relatively early in the season, before Bridges had bounced onto everyone's national radar. The ease with which he was able to shrug the post defender and launch into a reverse jam was a confirmation of the rest of the conference's fears before Big Ten play got underway: this dude is going to be a problem.