Michigan State swingman Miles Bridges is due for a big year — maybe the biggest in college basketball, if the Associated Press is correct.
The AP released its list of preseason All-Americans Monday, with Bridges leading the way as the team’s leading vote getter. The sophomore, who led the Spartans to the second round of the NCAA tournament last spring, leads a list of stars that includes Notre Dame stalwart Bonzie Colson and Missouri’s much-hyped freshman Michael Porter Jr.
Bridges plays much larger than his 6’7 frame, using his seven-foot wingspan to snatch rebounds and block shots as Michigan State’s Swiss Army knife on the floor. The former five-star recruit resisted the lure of jumping to the NBA in order to help restore his college program to its lofty heights — the Spartans haven’t advanced out of the tournament’s opening weekend since 2015, when they ran all the way to the Final Four.
Colson is the team’s elder statesman and its only senior. The former Rhode Island prep standout has improved in each of his three seasons in South Bend, averaging a double-double with 17.8 points per game and 10.1 rebounds last winter. Like Bridges, he saw his 2017 season end in the second round of March Madness.
Porter will attempt to engineer a turnaround in Columbia. Missouri. The Tigers have fallen to pieces in recent years, vacating a rich hardwood history that new head coach Cuonzo Martin hopes to revive. Landing Porter, a former Washington commit, is a good start. Mizzou won just 27 games in its last three seasons, but a superlative effort from Porter and the other members of the nation’s No. 4 recruiting class could challenge that total in a single season.
The final two members of the preseason All-American team are a pair of sweet-shooting guards who can carry their programs to victory on any given night. Arizona junior Allonzo Trier missed 19 games last season due to an NCAA suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, but was dynamic upon his return to the court, scoring 17.2 points per game while draining nearly 40 percent of his three-point attempts.
He’s joined by Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson, the son of 10-year NBA veteran Rick Brunson, was one of the nation’s most efficient players in 2016-17. The Wildcat floor general was the engine behind his team’s march to the top spot in the top 25, and while his season ended with an upset loss in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the junior will be hungry to erase that memory with a big season this winter.
Several other familiar names, like Duke lightning rod Grayson Allen and Wisconsin’s latest three-star big man project-turned-star Ethan Happ also received votes. Here’s the full list of preseason All-Americans and the rest of the vote-getters, provided by the Associated Press:
- Miles Bridges, Michigan State, 6’7, 225, sophomore, 61 votes (16.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 blocks)
- Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame, 6’6, 224, senior, 47 (17.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 52.6 fg pct, 1.4 blocks)
- Allonzo Trier, Arizona, 6’5, 205, junior, 39 (18 games, 17.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, 81.0 ft pct)
- Jalen Brunson, Villanova, 6’3, 190, junior, 33 (14.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, 54.1 fg pct, 87.6 ft pct)
- Michael Porter Jr., Missouri, 6’10, 215, freshman, 30 (HS: 36.2 ppg, 13.6 rpg)
Others receiving votes: Joel Berry II, North Carolina, 25; Grayson Allen, Duke, 20; Devonte' Graham, Kansas, 19; Ethan Happ, Wisconsin, 17; Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, 15; Jock Landale, Saint Mary's, 6; Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, 5; Marvin Bagley III, Duke, 3; Deandre Ayton, Arizona, 3; Yante Maten, Georgia, 1; Landry Shamet, Wichita State, 1.