COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S BREAKOUT STAR: MIKAL BRIDGES, THE KAWHI LEONARD CLONE

March 7, 2018, published on BleacherReport.com: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2762774-introducing-cbb-breakout-star-mikal-bridges-the-kawhi-leonard-clone

They used to call him Noodles. Inspector Go Go Gadget. String Bean. Brittle (short for Brittle Bones). Praying Mantis.

Mikal Bridges was so skinny and lanky and his arms were so long—”freakishly long,” Bridges tells me—that his Villanova teammates roasted him with a range of nicknames. The 6’7” swingman was an easy target then: a freshman. A young freshman (17 years old). About 185 pounds. Gangly shoulders, little head (they called him “Pea-head,” too).

His mother, Tyneeha Rivers, sympathizes. “My wingspan is the same as World B. Free,” Rivers tells me, referring to the wiry 76ers legend, as we sip tea at a Starbucks in Philadelphia in February. Mikal has a 7’2” wingspan. “He’s always had ridiculous, stupid-long arms.”

She laughs, remembering the Noodles days, back when no one was calling her son, now a redshirt junior, a potential 2018 NBA draft lottery pick. When he redshirted his first season to bulk up, he was simply a punching bag to the upperclassmen. “Any chance they got to try to punk him or go at his body or be physical with him, they’d do that,” guard Phil Booth says. (READ FULL STORY HERE).

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About Mirin Fader

Mirin Fader is a sports writer living in Los Angeles. She can be reached on Twitter @MirinFader.

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