Top Prospect Marvin Bagley Commits to Duke – reclassifies to be eligible to play this year
It’s the middle of August, football hysteria is growing, and college basketball doesn’t really get going for about two and a half months yet. So why the hell am I writing an article and why should you even care? Two words. Marvin. Bagley. Bagley, the former #1 player in the Class of 2018 and widely considered to be the best basketball player in all of high school basketball, regardless of class, and perhaps the best prospect since LeBron James, committed to Duke and also chose to reclassify to graduate with the Class of 2017 and become eligible to play this upcoming season, and also will be eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft next June. Bagley is a generational talent, and his decision to reclassify has changed the entire landscape and narrative for college basketball for the 2017-2018 season. The 6’10” “point-forward” is considered to be a mix of Anthony Davis and Chris Bosh, according to ESPN’s Paul Biancardi, and would have been the top ranked player in the Class of 2017 rankings, ahead of another highly touted freshman Michael Porter Jr., who is committed to Missouri. It is expected that Bagley, Porter, and international superstar Luka Doncic will battle to be the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Bagley, who dominated the summer AAU circuit by averaging 25.8 PPG to go along with 14.7 RPG and 3 BPG, has had no shortage of publicity for his tenacious play and his highlights this summer in various summer leagues, including the famous Drew League in Los Angeles, where he teamed up with Chris Paul and James Harden for a game and also went toe-to-toe with NBA veterans such as DeMar Derozan and Javale McGee, matchups than many feel Bagley won. While those are only exhibition leagues, Bagley has proven time and time again that he can play with whoever is on the court, and he will have no shortage of good players on the court with him this season, as Duke and Coach K have again hauled in an impressive crop of freshman, headlined by the #1 PG Trevon Duval, the #1 SG Gary Trent Jr., and the #2 C and #5 overall prospect Wendell Carter, according to ESPN. Factor in the return of Grayson Allen and former McDonald’s All-American Marques Bolden, who was hurt the majority of last year and never really got to prove himself, and you have the makings of the preseason #1 team for next season. But just how big of a deal is Marvin Bagley you ask? Well, immediately after the announcement of his reclassification and his commitment to Duke, the odds on the Blue Devils dropped from 7-1 to 3-1 to win the national title, according to Westgate sportsbook in Las Vegas. Many followers of the game will also say that the recruiting classes do not matter and will use Duke’s second round exit in the NCAA Tournament last year as an example, when Duke had yet another stellar, top-ranked recruiting class. First, Bagley is even more heralded than any recruit in that class, which included the Celtics top pick Jayson Tatum, who is a favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year this upcoming season, and Harry Giles, who never fully recovered from his knee injuries and struggled most of the year, but is said to be near full strength again. Last year, Duke had one of the most drama filled seasons in recent memory, with the Giles and Bolden injuries, Coach K surgery and leave of absence, as well as the Grayson Allen tripping fiasco and suspension. Betting on all of that to happen again would be silly. Bagley gives Duke arguably their greatest recruit of all time and of this decade overall, and makes them the clear cut favorite next year.
As for what this means for the NBA season and draft next summer? Potentially, the top overall pick has just joined the pool of players, and one of the best recruits of the century so far is now on the radar for teams who do not have high hopes for next season, and well, the Celtics cause they still own the Nets pick, who are expected to be abysmal yet again. Adding Bagley to an already great Celtics team could potentially put an end to the reign of LeBron James in the Eastern Conference should James decide to resign with the Cavaliers after next season. Yes, he is that good. No, this is not an overreaction. The next big thing in basketball is here, and we get to see him on the national stage earlier than we all expected. The Bagley Era has arrived.
Check out the highlights below: