Morgantown, West Virginia – Boy was I wrong about Jalen Bridges. Two years ago – after Bridges posted a photo of himself wearing a Pitt jersey following a recruiting trip there – I said “West Virginia doesn’t need Jalen Bridges.”
Bridges was a four star recruit and had just announced that he would leave Fairmont Senior High School in Fairmont, West Virginia to attend the prep school Scotland Prep in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
I was told Bridges wanted out of West Virginia. I was informed that he was focused on schools like Indiana, Michigan, Pitt, and Bob Huggins had just landed an outstanding recruiting class featuring Oscar Tshiebwe, Miles “Deuce” McBride, as well as JUCO stars Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil.
As a West Virginian, I felt scorned by a hometown player allegedly wanting to attend a school like Pitt, and I lashed out at him. Obviously this was unfair to say to an 18 year old kid, but my intentions were 1.) Huggins was already building an incredible team, and my message to West Virginia fans was that the team would be okay with or without Jalen Bridges. 2.) Elite in-state high school players leaving West Virginia hurts.
Jalen Bridges has proven me completely wrong. 1,000% wrong. And I apologize to him.
Jalen Bridges is built in West Virginia and he is Mountaineer Proud.
Love giving my all for this team and this state💛💙
— jalen (@jalenbridgess) February 27, 2021
Following Bridges’ 8 points, 4 rebounds on 3-3 from the field and 1-1 from three point range performance against Kansas State, Bridges went on social media to say, “(I) love giving my all for this team and this state.”
While Bridges has already exceeded expectations in his freshman season, this is only the beginning for him as a Mountaineer. Can you imagine him in 2 years? 3 years?
Bob Huggins had to say the following about Bridges yesterday: “His activity was terrific. Absolutely terrific. He got his hands on as many balls as the rest of the team combined. Blocked some shots. I think it was three blocked shots they gave him credit for. He may have had another one or two. He was really a factor around the rim.
He did a great job of keeping balls alive for us. There’s a 6’7 guy out on the perimeter, moving his feet and staying in front of people. He’s got good length.
JB is just getting better and better all the time.”
When the Mountaineers make deep run in the Big 12 Conference Championship Tournament and in the NCAA Tournament, they will rely on Jalen Bridges, “a kid from just up the road in Fairmont”, who is giving his all every game for the state of West Virginia.