Michigan State Spartans getting Miles Bridges back after he bypasses NBA draft

Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, right, and men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo speak during a news conference Thursday in East Lansing. (AP photo)

EAST LANSING — Miles Bridges, at the foot of Michigan State’s Sparty statue, made an announcement that almost gave Tom Izzo tears of joy.

“I got some unfinished business here,” Bridges said. “I want to stay.”

And with that announcement, a sea of green-and-white clad students and fans roared because one the nation’s top freshmen is coming back to lead a talent-laden team next season.

Bridges was told he would be drafted between Nos. 8-14 in the NBA draft if he declared himself eligible and his mother made it clear she wanted him to go pro.

“I would go to the NBA,” Cynthia Bridges acknowledged. “But I’m not the basketball player. Miles is.”

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo instructs his team in the first half of a first-round game in the men's NCAA college basketball tournament against Miami in Tulsa, Okla., on March 17. (AP photo)

A good one, too.

The 6-foot-7 forward from Flint led the Spartans with 16.7 points per game, the highest average for a freshman at the school since Magic Johnson scored 17 per game during the 1977-78 season. Bridges also averaged 8.3 rebounds, the most by a Michigan State freshman since Greg Kelser in 1975-76.

Even though Bridges could’ve left to work on his game while making millions in the NBA, he chose to try to improve in college while enjoying life on and off the court.

“I’d rather stay here and get better,” he said.

Bridges said he’s coming back to chase a national championship.

Izzo, who appeared to get choked up when Bridges said he was staying, will have a team capable of contending for the Hall of Fame coach’s second national championship and eighth Final Four appearance.

Until recently, he didn’t think Bridges was coming back.

“Most of the year, I thought he was going and assumed he would go,”

Izzo said. “He felt he wasn’t ready and didn’t want to do it.”

Bridges was part of a highly touted recruiting class that lived up to the hype. He was one of the nation’s best freshmen and was surrounded by three classmates — Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford — who ranked among the team’s top five scorers.