Miles Bridges might have as much momentum as any player in the class of 2016 right now. The 6'7 wing just decimated Peach Jam in front of every college coach in the country last weekend, putting up 22.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. He's ranked as high as No. 7 by ESPN and as low as No. 24 by Rivals, but everyone now seems convinced he's one of the better prospects in his class.
Bridges is in Chicago this weekend starring at the Nike Global Challenge, which runs Thursday-Saturday at Whitney Young High School (the house that
Jahlil Okafor Quentin Richardson built) on the city's near west side. It's a live period weekend, which means college coaches are everywhere you look. Judging by Bridges' performance during Wednesday night's scrimmage, it's a safe bet he's going to continue leaving everyone impressed.
Bridges looks like the tallest linebacker you've ever seen: at 225 pounds, he has a hulking presence on the court. It's easy to describe him as a "power wing" who will make a living in transition. It's even easier to dream about sliding him up to the four where he'd have a speed and skill advantage on almost anyone guarding him.
Bridges is well aware of the way the game has been trending with perimeter-oriented players more likely to appear at power forward, but he's still insistent that he sees himself at shooting guard or small forward long-term.
"I know for sure that I'm a wing player," Bridges told SB Nation on Wednesday night. "If a coach wants me to play stretch four sometimes, then I'll be OK with it. I know I put in the work on my ball-handling, my shot is getting way better. So I feel I'm a two or a three in college."
Saw my step dad today pic.twitter.com/d9PgW97wEE— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges01) June 30, 2015
Grandad came thru @kobebryant pic.twitter.com/K76eNKT5VW— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges01) June 29, 2015
"Izzo's been recruiting me since 10th grade," Bridges said. "I talk to (former Spartan) Draymond (Green) like a lot. He teaches me how to keep calm through adversity. Just to keep my head."
Ward is also playing at the Global Challenge. You can bet he's been in Bridges' ear, too.
"Nick has been saying some stuff to me," Bridges said. "Nick is in the room with me, actually. So he's talking to me about that all the time. I'm just going to make the best decision for myself."
That decision might also push him to Lexington. Kentucky lost out on Jayson Tatum to Duke, and the worry is that he might pull another UK target, No. 1 player Harry Giles, with him. That means Calipari better have Plan B quickly lined up, and the centerpiece of his new outlook sounds like it might be Bridges.
"Kentucky is a great offer," Bridges said. "It was just a great feeling. I've grown up watching up them, so to get that offer was amazing. I talk to Coach Calipari almost every single day. I talk to (assistant) Coach (Kenny) Payne every day, too.
"I'm the person they want from my class. They want me to come in immediately and play."
Bridges isn't ready to make his college decision just yet, but he told SB Nation he plans on committing by December. If you want to see why it's a big deal, just check his junior year highlight reel. He showed a lot of similar things during Wednesday night's scrimmage, hitting at least one long jumper and throwing down several dunks.
Within a loaded 2016 class, Bridges has done enough to make himself stand out. Where he goes from here is anyone's guess.