Who is Miles Bridges? Carvell Wallace examines why the Michigan State star basketball player decided to stay in East Lansing, rather than go straight to the NBA as soon as possible. In his lengthy report, Wallace recounts an interview with coach Tom Izzo about Bridges and his reasons for eschewing the NBA draft. Wallace writes:
“I asked Miles, ‘Why do you want to stay?’ His first answer was, ‘I want to get to a Final Four and I want to try to win a national championship,'” Izzo says.
This was not good enough for Izzo. Only a year earlier, a Spartans team that featured current Bulls guard Denzel Valentine dominated the regular season, was a heavily favored 2-seed in the NCAA tournament and then shot 56 percent from the field and 46 percent from 3 in its opening game. But Middle Tennessee, its opponent, shot 56 percent from the field and 58 percent from 3. Michigan State lost. There are no guarantees.
“I love you for it,” Izzo recalls telling his star player, “but I can’t have you stay for that because getting to a Final Four is a 5 percent chance if you’re really good.” He pushed Bridges to think harder.
A week later, Bridges returned to his coach to explain that he wanted to be national player of the year. He wanted a Wooden Award. This too was laudable, Izzo told him, but in a college landscape this crowded, it was also not a guarantee.
Still another week passed, and Izzo was driving the campus with Bridges one night. Bridges’ mother had learned her son was hedging on going pro and asked the coach to speak with him. Izzo found himself in the unusual position of trying to talk a star out of playing for him. “I asked him, ‘Are you getting sick of me yet?'” Izzo recalls. “He said, ‘Yeah.'”
Read more here about the fascinating Miles Bridges, who tells his mother “Money is the root of all evil,” when she asks him why he isn’t going pro.