Mikal Bridges is the next Villanova alumnus to get his jersey retired, the team announced on Thursday afternoon.
The versatile two-way wing will be honored during halftime of the Nov. 17 basketball game against Maryland at Finneran Pavilion.
The former NCAA All-American and two-time national champion joins his former Villanova teammates Ryan Arcidiacono (2020), Josh Hart (2022) and Jalen Brunson (2023), who also had their jerseys retired in recent years.
“From his first day on campus, Mikal’s selflessness endeared him to his teammates, coaches, and the entire Nova Nation,” said Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune, who was a Wildcats’ assistant coach throughout Bridges’ college career from 2014-18. “In his four years at Villanova, his work ethic helped him grow into an All-American and a two-time NCAA national champion. Today he remains an inspiration to our current players as he thrives in the NBA.
“We’re so excited to add Mikal’s name to the list of Villanova legends whose jerseys have been retired.”
Bridges arrived at Villanova after a solid career at nearby Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pa.
After redshirting as a freshman, he quickly became a fan-favorite with his long wingspan, penchant for defense and reputation as a lockdown defender. He made a key steal in the final moments, during a five-steal performance, during the Wildcats’ 64-59 Elite Eight victory against Kansas, before the ‘Cats won it all in 2016.
The following year, he worked his way into the starting lineup and garnered Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors on a team that won Big East regular season and tournament titles.
During his final season in 2017-18, he helped bring the ‘Cats back to the mountaintop, as they finished with a 36-4 record and won every NCAA Tournament game by double digits en route to their second national title in three years.
It was a standout season for Bridges, individually, his best one yet. He was named an All-American and won the Julius Erving Award as the nation’s top small forward. Bridges ended his Villanova career with a total of 1,311 points, 504 rebounds, 163 steals and 101 blocks.
In Bridges’ four seasons at Villanova, the Wildcats posted a 136-16 record (.895).
He was eventually drafted by the Philadephia 76ers with the 10th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, and immediately traded to Phoenix, where he would garner First Team All-NBA Defensive Team honors in 2022. Bridges has since been traded to Brooklyn, and in addition to his two-way play, he’s garnered a reputation for being an iron man and not subscribing to load management.
A plaque honoring Bridges will take its place in the main lobby of Finneran Pavilion, where the other retired jerseys of Wildcats legends are now located. With the single exception of Paul Arizin’s No. 11, Villanova retires the jersey of its legends but not the number.