HOOVER, Ala. – On a court packed with talent, in front of an impressive crowd of college coaches, Jalen Bridges shined brightest Friday night, scoring 28 points in a 61-55 Wildcats Select win to cap the first day at adidas Gauntlet’s summer championship.
Head coaches or assistants from Michigan State, Louisville, UCLA, West Virginia, IU, Butler and others floated around court 11 at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex late Thursday. They were treated to one of the day’s best games, with an undermanned Wildcats Select outfit besting Dream Vision, perhaps one of the country’s best AAU teams at the U17 age level.
Foremost in that effort was Bridges, who blended his outside shot with an impressive ability to find his way to the basket with and without the ball. He scored 15 more points than any other player on the floor.
“We felt that we came out flat this morning,” Bridges said, referring to Wildcats Select’s loss earlier in the day. “Nobody really had a good game. We just told each other that we’re gonna come out strong, and we’re winning this game. Everybody had us getting our (butts) kicked, excuse my French. But we came out, played hard and won.
“We did a great job playing together. Earlier, I felt like we weren’t getting any movement on offense. Tonight, we were getting curls, back doors, offensive rebounds, all of that.”
IU associate head coach Tom Ostrom was among the crowd that gathered for a game that was eventually decided by free-throw shooting.
The Hoosiers and Ohio State both offered Bridges in the spring, and both have pitched the 6-7 wing as an ideal fit in their programs. Bridges, the No. 78 player in 2020 according to 247Sports, holds a blend of high- and mid-major offers, including IU, Ohio State, Dayton, Xavier, West Virginia, Pitt, Miami and N.C. State.
Like most players active this weekend, at adidas and elsewhere, Bridges plans to keep his recruitment on the back burner until his AAU season finishes. He’s focused on finishing the weekend strong, and pivoting back to recruiting when things calm down.
“To be able to put our talents on display in front of all these coaches, it’s a blessing,” he said. “I’ll probably cut my list after this month, so we’ll see what happens the rest of this month, and then we’ll go from there.”