28 October 2020

LEAGUE ALERTS

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“LEAGUE ALERTS EXCLUSIVE”: Interview with Mikal Bridges

Two time NCAA champion, 2018 All-American 3rd team, 2018 1st team All-Big East, winner of the Julius Erving award, winner of the 2018 Big East MVP, and 10th overall pick of the 2018 NBA draft, Mikal Bridges has been very promising for the Phoenix Suns. Bridges averaging 8.7 points and 4 rebounds per game off the bench during his sophomore season in the NBA shows how much potential the 23 year old has. He has been an important role player to the Phoenix Suns and he is definitely one of the elite young talents in the NBA. He is the most consistent player on the Suns roster, missing a total of ZERO regular season games throughout his two years in the NBA.

Although Mikal has some huge honors to his name, it was not all given to him. He had to work hard to get where he is today, he was once a student athlete, and student athletes have very hard jobs. They have to maintain grades and focus on their sport. It is very overwhelming at times. I was privileged enough to have interviewed Bridges and got the chance to ask him some questions about his unique journey to the league.

Me: “I did my research and you went to Great Valley High School, can you tell me at what point in your high school career where you thought to yourself “I have a chance of going pro”?”

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Bridges: “Yup, I went to Great Valley and I probably think the summer of junior year going into my senior year. I came off a real good junior year and played in the EYBL with Team Final and played real well. So probably that summer after I committed to Nova and had a ton of other offers.”

Me: “What did you learn from your high school coaches and teammates that you brought with you to Villanova or even the NBA?”

Bridges: “The biggest thing i learned was moving without the ball. I take that with me now how I don’t need the ball to score. I can cut and do a lot of back cuts to get the ball.”

Me: “You went to Villanova and you won two national championships in three years attending the school, can you tell me what it’s like to win two?”

Bridges: “Yeah bro it’s crazy. Not a lot of people can say they won two natties, dang not even one so it’s just unbelievable and shows how good we were as a team in both of them years.”

Me: “You are an extremely consistent player for the Phoenix Suns during your rookie year, you appeared in uniform for all 82 games… How did you manage to stay healthy throughout the season and how did you deal with the physical toll on your body playing an 82 game season?”

Bridges: “We have a great staff and they tell me things to really help take care of my body. Trust me, my body was still hurting some days but it made me feel better after games and especially off days. But it was very tough, but just a lot of recovery.”

Me: “You obviously put your blood, sweat and tears into the game of basketball and you leave it all on the court night in and night out. Were there ever times where you wanted to give up? If so, how did you overcome it?”

Bridges: “Nah, I never wanted to give up. A lot of tough times, but never had the idea to ever quit. I just love the game so much and destine to always get better so I couldn’t give up.”

Me: “Being a student athlete is extremely difficult. How did you balance school work and basketball while in high school and college?”

Bridges: “It was very tough. Our people that worked at the office helped us out so much. Marissa Paffas was the best at her job. Always was on us with homework and just made us grind, but it was not easy, for sure.”

Me: “Growing up, which players did you idolize and made you become a basketball player?”

Bridges: T-Mac [Tracy Mcgrady] and KD [Kevin Durant] (were) my favorite players growing up and til’ this day. Just two lanky players and I would always try to be like them and i always had their sneaks (sneakers) too.”

Me: “You are an elite defender in the NBA, you have guarded some of the best players in the world, which player do you enjoy guarding the most?”

Bridges: “Definitely the best players like Lebron, KD, Harden and Dame [Damian Lillard]. They challenge you and i’m always up for a challenge. I go out there and listen to our scout and play as hard as I can.”

Me: “Last Question… Do you have any advice for readers out there who are currently student athletes and are aspiring to be in the NBA some day?”

Bridges: “Yeah, just keep grinding. I didn’t get my first offer until going into my last year of college. Then I redshirted my first year of college and had to patiently wait and keep getting better. Everyone’s gonna have different paths and just worry about your own. Don’t need to be like anyone else’s path.”

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