Miles Bridges reportedly leaning toward returning to Michigan State, which would make Spartans national-title contenders


How about this for a surprise?

Miles Bridges, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a player many believed would be a one-and-done, is reportedly leaning toward returning to Michigan State for his sophomore season. That per a report from NBA scoop-master general Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.

Bridges had a huge freshman season with the Spartans and was expected to be selected as a lottery pick in this summer's NBA Draft. Draft Express currently has Bridges ranked as the No. 11 prospect in the draft.

But should Bridges announce his intent to return to Michigan State, Tom Izzo — who per Wojnarowski was encouraging Bridges to head to the NBA — could have one of the best teams in the country heading into the 2017-18 campaign.

The Spartans might have failed to meet some expectations this season with their fabulous four freshmen finding their way in the college game, but next season, those four will be one-year veterans of the Big Ten and the college-season grind. That now-experienced 2016 class of Bridges, Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford plus returning veterans Tum Tum Nairn Jr., Matt McQuaid and Kenny Goins plus returning injured big men Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter plus the incoming No. 6 recruit in the country in power forward Jaren Jackson would make Michigan State one of the preseason favorites to win the national championship.

And Bridges would of course be at the center of those national-title expectations. Last season, he ranked in the top six in the Big Ten in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds a game. His 56 made 3-pointers and 43 blocked shots also ranked among the league leaders.

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