Fairmont Senior basketball star Jalen Bridges explained his decision to attend a prep school and wait another year before entering college basketball in a Friday evening appearance on MetroNews Sportsline.
“I don’t feel like as a student and a student-athlete that I’m ready for college basketball and college in general,” Bridges said. “My mom and grandma help with everything around the house. I want to live on my own and get used to it before being thrown to the wolves in college.”
Bridges had little trouble adapting on the basketball court in his high school career, leading the Polar Bears to four straight appearances in the state championship game. As a senior, he was West Virginia’s state player of the year.
Though he already has scholarship offers from WVU and others, the 6-foot-7 swing man thinks his game needs more refining before he moves to the next level.
“I do a lot of stuff good in workouts that I don’t do a good job of translating it into the game,” Bridges said. “I also want to get stronger.”
Bridges is listed at 170 pounds by Rivals, which is a bit light for a player with his height. He said one of the reasons Scotland Campus prep school in Chambersburg, Pa. appeals to him is the way guard Clarence Nadolny was able to transform his body in his year at the school. Nadolny was heavily recruited by West Virginia before signing with Texas Tech last week.
“He’s gotten a lot bigger,” Bridges said. “They’ve got a kid [6-9 forward Karim Coulibaly] going to Pitt, he’s huge. They’ve got a good program there.”
Bridges’ recruitment has gained momentum this spring. In addition to offers from three of the Division I programs closest to his home – West Virginia, Marshall and Pitt – he has fresh offers from Illinois and TCU.
He said he plans on taking visits in June and August with several AAU tournaments scheduled in-between. Bridges plans on committing in October or November.
“Most important will be player development. If you’re going somewhere you’re not improving, you’re getting passed up by other people,” Bridges said. “My ultimate goal is to get paid to play this game one day. I feel like player development plays a huge role in that.
“If it’s Big East, Big Ten, A-10, it doesn’t matter to me. Whatever feels like home to me with the staff, that’s probably where I’ll end up.”