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Mikal Bridges opens Villanova basketball's 2014 recruiting effort

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The 2014 forward is the first rising high school senior in his class to commit to the WIldcats.

Villanova's 2014 basketball recruiting class is off to a good start with a very local feel now that 6-7 wing Mikal Bridges has pledged to play for the 'Cats. The Malvern, PA native visited Villanova earlier this month, and had offers from Florida, Virginia Tech, Temple, La Salle and St. Joseph's along with Villanova. TheRecruitScoop's Alex Kline was the first to break news of the commitment.

Villanova has always been my dream school -Mikal Bridges

The Villanova program offered Bridges on June 4th, during an unofficial visit, but it is believed that he had a pre-existing relationship with new Villanova assistant Ashley Howard, from his time at Xavier. The consensus top-100 player has seen his stock rise on the Nike EYBL circuit earlier this Summer.

"Villanova has always been my dream school," he said about his decision.

He is a very athletic scorer with great upside, according to Scout.com, but needs to get stronger and improve his ball-handling as he develops this season at Great Valley high school. Bridges averaged 20 points and 8 boards during his junior season.

Bridges is rated 4-stars by each of the major recruiting services, and might have been underrated as he didn't really emerge until the Spring of his junior year. He is considered a high-upside recruit because of this, and has the tools to develop into a slasher and inside scorer as well as a good threat from the three-point line. He has enough quickness and length to become a strong defensive presence and will potentially be able to guard multiple positions in college.

He should be an interesting addition to the Villanova program, playing as a small forward or even as a power forward in Jay Wright's four-out sets.

(hat tip to Jon DeFalco)