(UPDATE: Bridges has enrolled at West Virginia as of Tuesday and is listed on the team’s official roster.)
FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Jalen Bridges is staying home.
The 6-foot-7 Fairmont native announced Monday afternoon his commitment to West Virginia University after sorting through an impressive and lengthy list of Division I offers.
“It’s a really great opportunity,” Bridges said. “It’s a great decision for me and my family and I’m playing for the whole state now.”
— jalen (@jalenbridgess) September 2, 2019
Bridges, a 2019 graduate of Fairmont Senior High School, enrolled Tuesday at West Virginia and is expected to redshirt this season.
Back in early May, Bridges announced he would attend Scotland Campus, a prep school in Pennsylvania.
But with West Virginia sending the offer Bridges’ way that prevents him from having to reclassify for 2020, it was an opportunity he didn’t want to pass up.
“I just felt like I was at home,” Bridges said. “It’s the place I want to be. I’m close with a lot of the players already and close with the staff. They made me feel like I was already a part of the team.”
Bridges had recently announced the final five schools he was considering — a list that also featured Indiana, Xavier, Miami and Alabama.
He said Xavier and Miami were also strongly considered, but ultimately Bridges felt most comfortable 20 minutes north of his hometown. He took a visit to Morgantown this past weekend that helped to finalize the commitment.
“Being so close to the school these past couple years, I know how they do everything and how they operate,” Bridges said.
Before bringing on Bridges, WVU had one scholarship open this season after junior college prospect Ethan Richardson did not enroll.
Bridges played in four state title games in his Fairmont Senior career. The Polar Bears won the Class AA state championship in 2016 and 2017 and finished runner-up each of the last two seasons.
Considered a four-star prospect by Rivals and 247 Sports, Bridges won the Bill Evans Award this year as the top player in West Virginia high school basketball. Bridges was a Class AA first-team all-state selection as a junior and senior.
“Jalen brings great size to our perimeter game with a very accomplished skill level,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “He will certainly join our other perimeter guys in their ability to stretch the defenses.”
Bridges will likely look to put on muscle before being asked to contribute at WVU, but the versatile forward has an impressive skill set that allows him to play above the rim or away from the basket.
“I really feel like the coaches at West Virginia know what they’re doing,” Bridges said. “I’m not going to say they’ll make me a pro, but they’ll show me what I need to do to be a pro. It’s up to me to do the rest and I feel like I can do that.”