Jackson Selected No. 4 in NBA Draft, Bridges Picked No. 12
Brooklyn, N.Y. - Michigan State freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. was selected with the fourth pick by the Memphis Grizzlies and sophomore guard/forward Miles Bridges was taken with the No. 12 pick by the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2018 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Thursday night.
Jackson’s No. 4 selection marks the seventh time an MSU player has been picked among the top-10 all-time and he is the highest pick since 1979. Bridges was later traded by the Clippers to the Charlotte Hornets for the No. 11 pick.
This is the highest two Michigan State players have been selected since 1979, when Magic Johnson was picked No. 1 by the Los Angeles Lakers and Greg Kelser was picked fourth (Detroit Pistons).
Twenty Spartans have been selected in the NBA Draft under Head Coach Tom Izzo, including 19 since the 2000 NBA Draft. Eleven of the draftees have been picked in the first round, including pairs in 2000 (Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson), 2001 (Jason Richardson, Zach Randolph), 2006 (Shannon Brown, Maurice Ager), 2014 (Adreian Payne, Gary Harris) and now 2018 (Jackson Bridges). All-time, Michigan State has had 63 players selected in the NBA Draft including 21 in the first round. Johnson and Kelser were the first Spartan first-round duo when they were selected in 1979.
Jackson enjoyed a spectacular freshman season at MSU, capped off by being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year. He was just the second player in Big Ten history to win both Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season (Ohio State’s Greg Oden in 2007).
“It’s surreal, man,” Jackson said afterward. “When they called my name, I think my brain kind of turned off and all the emotion just went through me. I walked up there, shook his hand (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver) and just … it was crazy.”
Jackson finished fifth on the team in scoring with 10.9 points per game and led the Spartans with 3.03 blocked shots per game, which led the Big Ten Conference and ranked No. 7 nationally. Jackson was also third on the team with 5.8 rebounds per game, averaged 1.1 assists and connected on 39.6 percent of his 3-pointers (38-of-96).
He finished the season with 106 blocked shots, establishing a new MSU single-season record, and tied the MSU single-game record with eight blocked shots against Rutgers on Dec. 5. Jackson accounted for 42.2 percent of Michigan State’s blocked shots last year as the Spartans set a school record with 251 rejections.
Jackson, who was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times during the season, recorded six double-doubles last year and scored in double figures 25 times.
In addition to being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Jackson was also selected to the All-Big Ten Third Team and was a unanimous selection to the All-Freshman Team.
Bridges capped off a stellar two-year career at Michigan State this year. He was a unanimous All-Big Ten First Team selection and was named a Second Team All-American by The Sporting News, the United States Basketball Writers Association, USA Today and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
“I’m just blessed to be here,” Bridges said. “Not a lot of people get this opportunity to get drafted to the NBA. It’s been my dream since I could dream. I’m blessed to be here. Charlotte is a great city. Michael Jordan is the owner. We have great pieces. I want to come in with a winning attitude, try and make the playoffs, develop under veterans like Nicolas Batum and those guys. So I’m just happy to be in Charlotte.”
Bridges led Michigan State in scoring with 17.0 points per game, was second on the team with 7.0 rebounds and third on the team with 2.8 assists per game. He ranked sixth in the Big Ten in scoring, 11th in rebounding and fourth in the league in free throw percentage (85.3 percent).
He was one of only four players in the country to average at least 17.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.8 blocks per game.