Two things are strikingly clear about Miles Bridges: An abundance of talent and a lack of ego. He could average 30 points a night, but he prefers to pass. He could lust after personal accolades, but he’s much more consumed with winning. It’s impossible to watch the 19-year-old play without being struck by his deep appreciation for the concept of a team. His selflessness was perhaps most apparent in the aftermath of Michigan State’s overtime win over Rutgers on Tuesday when the sophomore was told Tom Izzo said he needed to be more of a jerk. Bridges nodded as if he understood. “I played terrible on defense in the first half. Letting my man get behind me, I just looked really lazy out there, and I can’t do that,” he said. “I have to come out and play more aggressive on defense and do everything I need to do to win.” But that wasn’t what Izzo meant at all. He was referring to the other end of the floor, where Bridges has a tendency to share the ball like a bag of chips at lunch. It often results in the Spartans’ best player going hungry, as was the case on Tuesday night when Bridges went scoreless deep into the second half. It’s a paradox and a problem: In his commitment to playing team-first basketball, Bridges often holds the team back. “It’s one of my issues with Miles,” Izzo said. “I’ve told him: He has to be more selfish.” As simple as it sounds, there’s a reason Bridges hasn’t yet grasped the message. Try telling a mute to shout. Try convincing an altruist to pinch his pennies. Selfishness, especially on the basketball court, goes against every fiber in Bridges’ body. So while he appreciates the need to change, it’s much easier said than done.
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Izzo Trying To Lure The “Jerk” Out Of Miles Bridges
CBS Detroit | Jan 11