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June 21, 2018

Mikal Bridges

Brooklyn, New York

MIKAL BRIDGES: It's a great feeling to get picked by the Sixers. Just watching them, especially this year, growing up watching them, going to games when I was young, it's a blessing. My mom working there, went to Villanova right around the corner, played in Wells Fargo throughout the whole year this year. It's just truly a blessing.

Q. Obviously the Sixers have one of the best kind of young cores in the NBA. How do you envision yourself fitting in there in year one?
MIKAL BRIDGES: Just coming in, doing whatever it takes, bringing that winning mentality they have and just bringing another winner. That's what Brett Brown wants. He wants to win. And that's the same thing with me. That's why I came here; I want to win. That's the only thing I care about. I'm just going to keep getting better as a player, but the main goal is definitely winning.

Q. Did you have a feeling all along it might be the Sixers, and what was the wait like before you got your name called?
MIKAL BRIDGES: See, I didn't know where I was going to go. You people say that you're going to go to the Sixers, but it's just a lot of people just talking. But once I got that text and call that I'm going, I was very excited for sure.

Q. There's a lot of one-and-done guys in the draft, but Villanova has four players who might get drafted who spent a couple years in college. What do you attribute that to, and what do you think that says about the program?
MIKAL BRIDGES: Coach Wright, he brings us in, he turns us into the players we are today. Other than just basketball, he turns us into great men, and I appreciate that about him. He helped me turn into the person I am today. He helped me build my mental toughness. There is more about the game than physical toughness. It's the mental part, too. If I didn't go Nova, I'm not sure I would have ever built that.

Q. Have we gotten to the point where being a little older having been a college graduate is actually a liability in this process?
MIKAL BRIDGES: I don't understand that. You know, turning 22 --

Q. You've still got a lot of good years left.
MIKAL BRIDGES: Yeah, of course. I never heard of 21-, 22-year-olds are done progressing as a player. I'm still young, and I'm going to keep getting better. I know I'm going to keep progressing every year, every day until I'm the best basketball player I can be.

Q. Being from Philadelphia, how does it feel to play there and does it present distractions for you, do you think, now that you're at a new level?
MIKAL BRIDGES: No. I was at Villanova, which is close to all my family and friends, so I don't feel like it's no distraction. I'm here to play basketball. That's what I'm here for. I mean, I've got too much love and passion for this game, so there's nothing that's going to really set me back or keep me distracted. I'm all about basketball.

Q. Going off that earlier question, Villanova doesn't really have a reputation of being a pro factory, but you're here, four guys about to be drafted. Do you feel like you're a part of a culture change? Is this a turning point for the program?
MIKAL BRIDGES: Yeah, most definitely. Everybody dreams to be here, especially everybody at school at Nova. But it's what Coach Wright does, how he develops his players. If you look at me right now, not one person would probably say I'd be an NBA player when I came out of high school. But people who thought that was my family and Coach Wright, and I just can't thank him enough. He just develops his players really well. He turns them into grown men. He does everything for you, and I'm so happy that I have him and he got me to this position.

Q. I was wondering what kind of conversations you've had with Coach Brown about coming to the team and what your potential might be with the Sixers moving forward.
MIKAL BRIDGES: Just when I worked out there, he saw my workout, talked to me after, said I did a good job. He likes how I play. He's been watching me, knows how I can defend basically 1 through 4. And I feel like just for me, I bring that defensive edge, that winning mentality to that winning program, and that person who's going to sacrifice a lot, and that's what happens, too, when you win a lot, you sacrifice a lot. I'm just willing to do anything to win.

Q. How excited are you to play alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons?
MIKAL BRIDGES: That's amazing. I mean, I watch those guys and I watch how unbelievable they are, how tough they are. Just watching college and going to the games, watching on TV, when people tell you, oh, you could go to the Sixers, you kind of watch and see where you're going to be out there, like how you fit yourself between them, and I feel like I can correlate with them pretty well for sure.

Q. You just mentioned a couple people or a few people didn't really believe in you coming out of high school. How good does it feel to be here sitting here today?
MIKAL BRIDGES: It means the world. It's not just me, it's bigger than me. It's everybody who helped me get to this position, my family, friends, coaches, everybody. It starts with my coach in the second grade. Starts with my middle school coaches. Obviously my parents. High school coaches. Starts with everybody. My friends who stuck with me throughout -- growing up, elementary, middle school, high school, watching me sit out, play one year, telling our friends at other schools, "Oh, my boy goes to Villanova," then I don't play that one year, and they're probably looking at them like "Oh, your boy doesn't play, and still not letting that change how they are with me. It's bigger than me. It's everybody who helped me get to this position.

Q. How is your mom feeling about this? Have you had a chance to talk yet?
MIKAL BRIDGES: Not really, but she's very, very excited. She's been wanting this. She's probably more excited than I am. She was about to cry and all that. She said she didn't want to ruin her makeup, so she'd try to hold it in. But no, she's very excited. I'm her only son. I'm a little mama's boy. Her son is right there around the corner again, and it's just really cool.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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