Mikal Bridges is one of the top reasons Villanova is in the National Championship Game on Monday night. The lanky 6-foot-7 wing makes a difference at both ends of the floor and has a lot of professional upside.
Below are four things to know about Bridges before the Wildcats tip off against Michigan in San Antonio.
Who is Mikal Bridges? 4 things to know about Villanova’s top NBA prospect
1. Mikal Bridges is the best NBA prospect playing in the National Championship Game
Bridges likely will be a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, and he will be the top NBA prospect on the floor on Monday night. Bridges’ size and skill on offense and defense make him an attractive prospect to NBA teams. NBADraft.net called Bridges “quite possibly the best two-way player in the draft” and noted he projects as a “prototypical 3-and-D guy” at the next level. Bridges was projected as the No. 10 overall pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in NBADraft.net’s latest mock draft.
2. Mikal Bridges has a 7-foot-2 wingspan
Bridges’ length is much more noticeable — and vital to his game — than is his height. Bridges has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, according to Sporting News, and that is what allows him to be a menace on defense. Bridges averages 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game this season and always makes opponents think twice about what they’re going to do with the ball when he is around.
“We put him on the best player. And he’s fine with that. He actually enjoys that,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said of Bridges’ defense.
3. Mikal Bridges is one of Villanova’s many 3-point weapons
Bridges’ shot has come along nicely during his three seasons at Villanova. He hit 29.9 percent of his 3-pointers as a freshman in the 2015-16 campaign but improved that mark to 39.3 percent last season. This season, he has knocked down 43.5 percent of his 3-pointers. And Bridges doesn’t even have the best 3-point shooting percentage on his team.
Bridges leads the team with 101 made 3-pointers this season and is one of seven Wildcats who hits at least 35 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. He is joined by Omari Spellman (43.9), Jalen Brunson (41.3 percent), Collin Gillespie (39.4), Donte DiVincenzo (39.0), Phil Booth (38.7) and Eric Paschall (35.7). Villanova hit a Final Four-record 18 3-pointers in its win against Kansas on Saturday night.
4. Mikal Bridges played a role in Villanova’s 2016 national title
Bridges did not have nearly the same type of role in 2016 that he does now, but he nonetheless provided Villanova with some crucial minutes during the Wildcats’ national title run that season. Bridges averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game and was one of three Villanova players to come off the bench in the National Championship Game vs. North Carolina. He scored 2 points, grabbed 2 rebounds and blocked a shot in 15 minutes played in that game.