EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Seated in front of the iconic Sparty Statue at the intersection of Kalamazoo Street and Chestnut Road, Miles Bridges announced his intentions to return to Michigan State for his sophomore season early Thursday evening.
"I want to thank God for this opportunity," Bridges said. "I get to reach my dreams in the NBA or stay here with my teammates. But, I got some unfinished business here.
"I always knew I was going to make the best decision for myself, whether it was staying or going. I knew I was going to get better, but I would rather stay here and get better with my teammates and become a better person with them. I love college. I love Spartan Nation. I always say that we have the best fans in the nation, so I would rather be here with them."
A Sporting News Freshman All-American, Bridges averaged 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game to become the first freshman to lead MSU in scoring since Shawn Respert did as a redshirt freshman in 1991-92, while his scoring average is second-best all-time among Spartan freshmen, trailing only Earvin "Magic" Johnson (17.0 ppg).
"Everything was my decision. Coach was going to support me no matter what. It was really personal to me. Nobody made the decision for me. I talked to my family, I talked to my coaches, but it was all my decision," Bridges said.
"Miles and I spent a lot of time talking about reasons to stay or go. Sure, he wants to win a championship but two years ago we had a good enough team to win one and we got beat in the first round. I mean, stuff happens. Those are the kind of conversations we had to have, but when it came down to it, he said that he wants to get better, he enjoys college, he loves his teammates, he's been happy here. When you put all those things together he couldn't make a bad decision ... There's nothing wrong being happy," MSU men's basketball head coach Tom Izzo said.
Bridges was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a second team All-Big Ten selection. He is just the second Spartan to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and is the fourth freshman in school history to earn all-conference honors. He was voted Team MVP by both the media and team, while also earning all-district honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the United State Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
"I told our players Miles gave up a lot and it's our job to make sure he grows as even a better player, better person, better student and we become a better team. You all appreciate that somebody is sacrificing and someday you're all going to have to sacrifice a little bit and somebody's got an opportunity to do something special and he didn't let anyone sway his mind. I tried to sway it in a negative way (and get him to go to the NBA) sometimes and it just didn't work. He's happy with what he's got going, I'm happy for him and I hope you're all appreciative always," Izzo said.
The Flint, Michigan native finished with 10 games of 20-plus points, including scoring in double figures in 25 of 28 games, and his 33 points vs. Purdue (1/24) set the MSU single-game freshman scoring record.