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#Miles Bridges shocked the world when he withdrew his name from the 2017 NBA draft. The kid was almost a lock to be a top ten selection, but he thought it was best to return to #Michigan State and hone his craft longer before turning pro. His NBA-ready talent coupled with an elite-level group of freshmen has coach #Tom Izzo's mouth watering, as the Spartans head into the 2017-2018 season with a number two ranking and a good shot at a championship. A look at Bridges' already successful college career and his strengths and weaknesses shows why he is one of college basketball's best.

2016-2017, Michigan State finishes 20-15

After a disappointing early exit from the tournament in 2015-2016 and the departure of all-American Denzel Valentine, Miles Bridges offered the Spartans a glimmer of hope for the future of Michigan State basketball.

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Bridges ranked as one of the top ten recruits in the nation going into his freshman year, so expectations were high. He didn't disappoint. The combo forward carried the Spartans through the season, posting averages of 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game. The team's record wasn't incredibly impressive, but Bridges' play certainly was.

The Spartans earned a nine seed in the NCAA tournament, but, after an impressive victory over 8 seed Miami, they were eliminated in a blowout loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. Bridges declared for the NBA draft shortly after, and once he showed up as a probable top ten pick, most Spartan fans assumed he was gone. To their surprise, this wasn't the case. Despite the high opinions of the NBA's scouts, Bridges decided to return to the Spartans for his sophomore season, solidifying the Spartans as an elite team for the 2017-2018 season.

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What's in store for 2017-2018?

Michigan State now boasts the nation's seventh-ranked recruit, Jaren Jackson, Jr., alongside Miles Bridges. With the veterans Cassius Winston and Nick Ward returning, the Spartans have a perfect mix of raw talent and experience. Pair that with a great coach like Tom Izzo, and the sky is the limit for this team. Bridges was already dominant in Michigan State's first game, posting 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, and a steal. He worked particularly well with Jackson, who posted a 13 point, 13 rebound double-double in his first college game.

This is very encouraging for the Spartans. If the young guys on this team can click early with the older guys, Michigan State will be a deadly team come tournament time. Miles Bridges will be the leader of the squad, and if he continues to play like he did in game 1, there are great things to come for the Spartans.

Strengths

Bridges is a powerfully built combo forward. He's a freak athlete with amazing explosive ability.

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He couples that explosiveness with great body control. You won't see him take many wild shots. That body control allows Bridges to play through contact exceptionally well. He's stellar at drawing fouls in the lane and finishing the shot once he's fouled.

Bridges also possesses an arsenal of spin moves, fakes, layups, and floaters in the paint. His ability to play inside allows him to increase his scoring totals, and it also allows him to pull down a tremendous number of rebounds for a wing player. He shows great ambidexterity around the rim, as well as a knack for finding the open man when the defense prevents him from shooting.

Weaknesses

Bridges is what NBA scouts call a "tweener," which is a player who doesn't have a true basketball position. At 6'7", Bridges is undersized for the post, but he lacks a polished perimeter game. His jump shot has improved tremendously over the last year, but he still struggles to hit consistently from mid-range. He will have to work on his ball handling, as well. So far, he has relied on his superior strength and athleticism to overpower his match-ups. Creating his own scoring opportunities will be much harder in the NBA.

Overall analysis

Miles Bridges is an incredibly athletic player who, while considered a "tweener," will most certainly find a place in the NBA. He's competed against many of the nation's top players and performed admirably. His combination of strength, explosiveness, and good basketball IQ will make him a terror to guard and a nightmare to have guarding you. The NBA is still in the future, though. Until then, Bridges will continue to dominate at Michigan State and prove that he is one of college basketball's best.