Last week I wrote about the then-most recent Baylor Men’s Basketball player to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft—senior G Adam Flagler. Flagler spent three seasons with the Bears—two more than previous draft-declaring freshman G Keyonte George who was wildly touted transitioning from high school to college in Waco. A third member of the Baylor MBB squad joined his teammates in declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft while maintaining his two years of collegiate eligibility: transfer F Jalen Bridges. Bridges came to Waco from West Virginia where he played for two years under head coach Bob Huggins. In his one year in the green and gold, Bridges averaged 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 27.3 minutes per game. According to Baylor Athletics, he “set a career-high 28 points on 10-11 shooting while setting a career-high and Big 12 Tournament Record for 3-pt FG % (7-8, .875) against Iowa State” on March 9. He led the team in rebounds per game and recorded double digit scoring in 18 games.
In a statement on Twitter regarding his decision to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft, Bridges wrote, “First and foremost, I want to thank God for blessing me with the ability to play the game I love. I want to thank my family and friends for always being there for me through it all. Last but certainly not least, I want to thank coach [Scott] Drew and the entire coaching staff, my teammates, and all of the Baylor fans for their support throughout my time in Waco. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to build relationships that I’ll cherish forever and to play for such an amazing program. Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine and I feel that now is the right time to take a step to make my dream, reality. I will continue to work hard and make the most of this opportunity, and I look forward to what the future holds. Thank you all for your continued support. After much thought and consideration, I’d like to announce that I have decided to explore the NBA Draft process while maintaining my eligibility. Sic ‘Em Bears!”