The Wolfpacker

January 2015

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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66 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY JACEY ZEMBAL H untington (W.Va.) Prep junior small forward Miles Bridges combines great size, athleticism and skill level. He flashed his immense potential at times during the Phenom Hoops Report Na‑ tional High School showcase Nov. 14‑15 at Lewisville (N.C.) Forsyth Country Day. The second day of the event drew some special visitors. NC State head coach Mark Gottfried and assistant coach Or‑ lando Early watched Bridges and Hunting‑ ton Prep defeat High Point (N.C.) Chris‑ tian 72‑60. Bridges had four points and eight rebounds in the victory, so it wasn't a vintage performance, but his status as an elite player is already established. Bridges had 12 points and two three‑ pointers and helped lead the comeback in a 67‑60 win over Charlotte Providence Day the previous day. "Coach Early and Coach Gottfried are real cool, especially Coach Gottfried," Bridges said. "I like those guys. They call me every now and then, but they'll text me." Gottfried isn't allowed to comment on recruits until they sign with the Wolfpack. If he could talk, the odds are good he'd probably bring up former NC State scor‑ ing machine T.J. Warren as a comparison to Bridges. Bridges checks in at a rock‑solid 6‑6 and 225 pounds, while Warren was 6‑7 and 230 pounds at the same stage of high school. has Bridges ranked No. 20 overall in the class of 2016, while Warren was No. 17 in the country in the class of 2012. Warren slimmed down the 215‑ to 220‑pound range during his sophomore season last year at NC State and exploded on to the national scene. Warren led the ACC in scoring with 24.9 points per game and paced the league in field goal percent‑ age (.525) en route to ACC Player of the Year honors. He left school early to enter the NBA Draft and went No. 14 overall to the Phoenix Suns in the first round. "They compare me a lot to him, and I like it," Bridges said. "I like the offense they ran for him." recruiting analyst Eric Bossi ironically sees another compari‑ son with Raleigh ties from the Phoenix Suns. Bossi compared Bridges to former Raleigh Enloe High and Texas standout P.J. Tucker, who is Warren's teammate in the NBA. "I think the biggest question with Bridges is where he projects position‑ wise," Bossi said. "He is strong, athletic and tough, but plays a bit more like a four man than a small forward. "He will rebound, is a good straight‑ line driver and can defend on the wing." Only time will tell if Bridges has a similar career arc as Warren (or Tucker). NC State offered him after he partici‑ pated in its team camp June 27. Bridges is friends with former NCSU senior combo guard target Eric Davis of Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hill High, and the two came down to check out the Wolfpack. Davis eventu‑ ally signed with Texas this past November. "I visited NC State once and really liked it," Bridges said. "The coaches talk to me a lot. They are just telling me the reasons I should come there and how they would play me. "Eric is how NC State got on me. They were watching Eric and they saw me play. Eric and I are really close." Bridges wasn't a key recruiting target prior to the Wolfpack's team camp, but he became a huge priority following it. "They really weren't recruiting me hard before the camp," Bridges said. "When I got there, it was nice. There is a lot of competition in the ACC. It's probably the best conference in college basketball. I'd love to play in it. "They have a good campus. I like the facility, I like the coaches and I like the environment." The Family traveling team standout has a lengthy offer list, claiming scholar‑ ship offers from NC State, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Providence, Tennessee, UNLV and West Virginia. He attended one col‑ lege football game at WVU this fall and already has checked out Kentucky this college basketball season. "UConn, Tennessee and Indiana are the latest offers," said Bridges, who is from Flint, Mich. "I pretty much have everyone I want. If they haven't offered by now, they don't really want me. I do want to go to a UConn game." Bridges averaged 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in Nike Elite Youth Basketball League play over the sum‑ mer. It was his play at the LeBron James Skills Academy last July, however, that cemented his status as one of the top play‑ ers in the country. "I've really learned how to transition ■ BASKETBALL RECRUITING Junior Forward Miles Bridges Draws Comparisons To T.J. Warren Bridges, a 6-6 and 225-pound small forward at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, is ranked No. 20 overall in the class of 2016 by PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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