Hometown: Malvern, PA
High School: Great Valley
Weight: 191 lbs
Mikal Bridges enters the season as one of the country's premier freshman, boasting the 81st position in 247 Sports composite national rankings. While he may eventually develop into an extremely versatile two-way player, there are likely to be a few bumps in the road over his inaugural campaign.
Bridges burst onto the scene late in his junior year following an explosive showing at the Nike EYBL AAU Circuit. He demonstrates use of his length, an ability to get out and finish in a variety of ways in transition, and enough speed to blow by defenders. Scouts began to see the potential in the young recruit out of suburban Philadelphia - a young "tweener" just growing into his frame and with plenty of talent to spare.
The potential is clearly there. Bridges sports a growing offensive arsenal and athleticism to match. But where his season will be made or broken is, likely, in the weight room. Listed at 6' 7" and 190 pounds, Bridges may find himself out-muscled at this next level of competition. Those hoping to see him take spot minutes at the 4 this season may have to reel in expectations.
Set to compete Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart for minutes at the forward, Bridges will have to prove that his athleticism and skill is enough to compensate for his slight frame.
Best Case: After a successful offseason spent in the weight room, Bridges wastes no time familiarizing himself with Big East basketball. His ability to knock down the deep ball and pester defenders with his length force Coach Wright to employ his services for solid 12 mpg, 5 ppg season averages. There are certainly bumps along the journey, but Mikal proves that this underdog has every right to play with the big boys.
Worst Case: Those concerned about his lack of strength are proven correct; Bridges immediately struggles physically when bodying-up larger forwards and proves to be a sizable liability on defense. Paired with his still developing offensive arsenal, Coach Wright turns to ultra small lineups in times of desperation as opposed to letting his freshman struggle on the floor