It's official: Miles Bridges is coming back to East Lansing and Michigan State is a national-title contender.
After it was reported Wednesday that the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year was leaning toward a return to college for his sophomore season, Bridges made things official Thursday, announcing a return that instantaneously made Tom Izzo's team one of the favorites to win next season's national championship.
Bridges was expected to be selected early in the first round of the NBA Draft after a fabulous freshman campaign, ranked as the 11th-best draft prospect by Draft Express.
But he's no longer in that pool after announcing that he's coming back for a shot at a title with the rest of Izzo's highly touted recruiting class from a year ago. Bridges is sticking around with fellow sophomores-to-be Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford in what should be the preseason-favorite lineup in the Big Ten.
Miles Bridges: I got some unfinished business here. I'm just saying I wanna stay.— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) April 13, 2017
Bridges: I want to win a national championship, my teammates are a big part of it. I love my teammates.— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) April 13, 2017
Bridges ranked in the top six in the conference in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. His 56 made 3-pointers and 43 blocked shots also ranked among the league leaders.
Bridges will be the centerpiece of a loaded roster for Izzo & Co. In addition to the return of that four-man 2016 class of Bridges, Ward, Winston and Langford, Michigan State will also welcome back veterans Tum Tum Nairn Jr., Matt McQuaid, Gavin Schilling and Kenny Goins and welcome in one of the highest-rated recruits in the country in power forward Jaren Jackson.
In other words, there will be few teams in the country that can match the combination of talent and experience.