For the first time in his NBA career Nets’ star Mikal Bridges is playing for an East Coast team while the Big East Tournament is going on. While the Villanova alum won’t be able to be there with the Nets on a five-game road trip, he will be cheering on his Wildcats from afar.
Bridges was part of two national title teams during his time at Villanova, helping to lead the Wildcats to the program’s first NCAA title since 1985 when they beat North Carolina in 2016 and then again in 2018. Now five years removed from college, it was clear that Villanova still has a special place in his heart.
“My boys got to go win it all man,” Bridges said Sunday night at Barclays Center. “They gotta go win it all. One game at a time. I’ll be watching. Sad that I can’t be there, but I know my boys know I’ll be rooting them on.”
Bridges is one of three Villanova alum now playing for the city’s two professional basketball teams. While Bridges has been tearing it up for the Nets, Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart have formed a strong duo of their own across the river in Manhattan for the Knicks.
Brunson has turned into one of the biggest offseason acquisitions for the Knicks in quite some time. Bridges, Brunson and Hart all played with one another during their time at the Big East school.
Villanova will begin the tournament as the No. 6 seed and face No. 11 Georgetown on the opening night at Madison Square Garden. The Wildcats have won the Big East Tournament five times in the last 10 years, which included winning it three consecutive years beginning in 2017.
Villanova is sure to be taking some pride in the career that Bridges has carved out and the success he has quickly found in Brooklyn this season as well.