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Mikal Bridges’ Villanova Jersey to be Retired Against Maryland

Bridges+was+a+two-time+national+champion+at+Villanova.
Courtesy of Villanova Athletics
Bridges was a two-time national champion at Villanova.

On Thursday, Nov. 2, Villanova Athletics announced that two-time national champion and current Brooklyn Net Mikal Bridges will have his jersey retired during Villanova’s game against Maryland on Nov. 17.

Bridges, who spent three years playing at Villanova after redshirting his freshman year, was a key contributor to both national title teams (2016 and 2018) under Coach Jay Wright. 

“From his first day on campus, Mikal’s selflessness endeared him to his teammates, coaches, and the entire Nova Nation,” Villanova head coach Kyle Neptune told Villanova Athletics. “In his four years at Villanova, his work ethic helped him grow into an All-American and a two-time NCAA national champion.”

As a freshman, Bridges came off the bench and made a major impact on a team that would go on to beat North Carolina for the national championship. In the 2015-16 season, he was arguably the team’s best defender and made an iconic steal and dive onto a loose ball in the final seconds of Villanova’s Elite Eight game against Kansas, sending the ‘Cats to the Final Four.

It only got better from there. Starting in all but three games during his sophomore year, Bridges ended the season as the Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year. 

However, it was his final year that Bridges is best known for. In his final season as a Wildcat, Bridges was named a third team All-American, was awarded the Julius Erving Award as the country’s best collegiate small forward and scored 19 in the title game against Michigan to cap off his Villanova career and give the program its third national championship. 

Following his time at Villanova, Bridges declared for the NBA draft. He was drafted No. 10 overall by his hometown Philadelphia 76ers, but was dealt on draft night to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith. 

In six seasons in the NBA, Bridges has been a defensive gem. He has one All-Defensive team selection and finished runner-up in NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting. Bridges also currently holds the record among active NBA players for most consecutive games played with 392 straight, and was the headline return in a major trade where he was dealt to the Nets for NBA superstar Kevin Durant.

Bridges has averaged 25.5 points in 31 games with the Nets. 

“Today he remains an inspiration to our current players as he thrives in the NBA,” Neptune said. “We’re so excited to add Mikal’s name to the list of Villanova legends whose jerseys have been retired.”

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Finn Courtney, Co-News Editor
Finn Courtney is a freshman Communications and Political Science double major and is entering his first year as one of the Co-News editors for 2024. With a passion for politics and sports, Finn's been a writer for as long as he can remember, was a four-year editor and leader on his high school paper and as a freshman has covered a variety of stories for The Villanovan, City of Basketball Love, and has been reposted in the Philadelphia Inquirer. When he's not typing up a story or filming with Villanova Television, you can surely catch him procrastinating on something, watching a Mets game (it's their year!) or trying to just live life to the fullest.
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