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.
By ADAM ZAGORIA
Villanova junior wing Mikal Bridges has declared for the NBA Draft with the intention of signing with an agent, he told ESPN.
The 6-foot-7 Bridges is the projected No. 10 pick in the NBA Draft per ESPN.com, while his teammate Jalen Brunson has moved up to No. 26. Brunson has yet to announce his plans.
“I bring winning to your team,” Bridges 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.”
Bridges won the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award and was also the Big East Tournament MVP. He averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 51 percent shooting — shooting 43.5 percent on 3-pointers.
“He’s got a Scottie Pippen-like range and build about him,” ESPN’s Tim Legler said recently on air. “Now he’s making shots. If he’s gonna do that he’s gonna jump up into the top 10, maybe the top 6, top 7 of the NBA Draft if he elects to go.”
Bridges has been linked to the Knicks, who are currently slotted to pick ninth in the Draft. Knicks owner Jim Dolan, President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry all watched Bridges when Villanova won the Big East Tournament last month at Madison Square Garden.
“Mikal is a safe pick,” ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla told ZAGSBLOG. “Mikal is a safe pick because he’s already fits into the modern NBA game. He can defend multiple positions. He is an elite outside shooter and he comes into the league as a player who has a lot of growth in his game. From redshirt to now there’s been a dramatic improvement and he’s got the kind of character that he looks like he has even more room for development and growth.
“He has positional size, versatility, ability to defend and he projects to be an elite shooter at the NBA level. He’s an easy pick once you get in that 5-10 range.”
Added one NBA scout: “Mikal is very talented and his trajectory skill-wise is on the way up. You could make an argument for him to get drafted anywhere after the top three.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.