Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky Set to Face Miles Bridges, Who Spurned Them for Michigan State
NEW YORK — It isn’t often that John Calipari swings and misses on an elite recruit.
But when it came to Miles Bridges, Calipari didn’t get his man.
The 6-foot-7 Michigan native considered Kentucky and Michigan State before choosing the Spartans last October after his close friend Cassius Winston also picked Michigan State.
“When he committed, then I basically switched over to Michigan State from Kentucky,” Bridges told Scout.com. “At first I thought Cassius was going to Michigan. When he went to Michigan State, it changed everything.
“I just started hanging with him when AAU started,” Bridges said about Winston. “But it feels like I’ve known Cassius for all my life. We connect like brothers.”
Now Bridges and the No. 13 Spartans (0-1) will face Calipari and No. 2 Kentucky (2-0) in Tuesday night’s Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. No. 1 Duke (2-0) meets No. 7 Kansas (0-1) in the second game of the doubleheader.
“Tom’s beaten us [on recruits],” Calipari said Monday of new Naismith Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo. “He’s really good, but they’ve beaten us – Michigan State’s beaten us on a lot of players. I’m not meaning this because Tom and I are friends, but it’s like, ‘What happened there?’ They beat us on a lot of kids.”
Bridges was named the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week after going for 21 points and 7 rebounds on Friday night when Michigan State blew an early 17-2 lead on then-No. 10 Arizona and lost 65-63 on a fullcourt layup by Kadeem Allen in the final seconds in the Armed Forces Class in Honolulu.
Bridges went on a one-man dunking rampage in the game and made SportsCenter’s Top 10.
“Miles Bridges is legitimately one of the best players in the country – physically, skill wise,” Calipari said. “He’s a big body with guard skills. Not afraid. He’s Tom’s kind of player, too. He’s gritty. He’s tough. He’s good, but we’ve recruited the Cassius (Winston) kid. A couple of the wings. I mean, we recruited those guys, and I know how good they are. Good kids too, all good kids. It’s like, we don’t get every guy we recruit.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.