ESPN No. 6 ranked high school senior Miles Bridges cares about what happens in his troubled hometown of Flint, Michigan.
While the Huntington Prep (W. Va.) star was receiving his McDonald’s All American Game jersey, Huntington mayor Steve Williams declared Friday “Miles Bridges Day” for the local hero.
But Bridges, who played one season at Flint Southwestern high school before transferring to Huntington Prep, had his mind on his hometown.
Amidst the Flint’s pervasive poverty and horrible lead water contamination crisis, Bridges had a message of hope for Flint’s young people.
“I just want to go out there and show the toughness of Flint,” Bridges told USA Today. “I want every kid to know that there is hope and you can make it out of there like I did. I want what I do to be motivation for them.”
The 6-7 forward, who averaged 15.7 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.8 blocks at Huntington Prep last season, is headed to Michigan State to play his college ball.
He said he is close to the 2000 NCAA champion Spartan stars, “The Flintstones” (Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, Antonio Smith, and Charlie Bell), who are all Flint natives.
“I actually work out with them all the time,” said Bridges. “I know their stories and I’ve seen the movie on ESPN. We’re all close. Mateen Cleaves told me to just be calm and know what I’ve been working for. â€¦ I know I’ll be ready [next season].”
Michigan State beat out Kentucky and Indiana to land Bridges, whose stock soared after he lit up Nike Peach Jam over the summer, when he averaged 22.8 points and 10 rebounds.
At Michigan State, Bridges will be joined by fellow Michigan native, No. 30 Sr. Cassius Winston.
Winston, a 6-1 point guard, averaged 22.4 points, 7.1 assists and 5.2 rebounds for Univ. of Detroit Jesuit High School last season, leading the team to the Class A semifinals the last two years.
With this talented duo, Michigan State now has a loaded team for 2016-17, which also includes No. 14 class of 2016 senior Josh Langford, a 6-5 shooting guard who plays for Madison Academy (Huntsville, AL).
“On paper this is an incredible class,” Rivals.com’s Eric Bossi told the Detroit News. “Bridges is a blue-collar player, very physical. He should make an immediate impact. He’s not only physically ready for college ball but he’s also mentally ready. He’s a smart player.”