Big man Marvin Bagley III is considering reclassifying into the 2017 class in time to be ready to play college basketball next season, CBS Sports reported on Friday. The talented do-it-all lefty forward might be the most talented high school prospect in the nation, regardless of class, and should make a huge impact wherever he goes to school.
Bagley has been incredibly dominant during the AAU circuit this summer, and scored 25 points and grabbed 12 boards in the Nike Peach Jam last Thursday, impressing Kevin Durant. Earlier this month in the Drew League, he scored 32 points against NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan while throwing down huge dunks.
If he makes such a move, it’d make him the instant favorite to be the top-overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft — over such talented 2017 prospects as swingman Michael Porter Jr., combo guard Luka Doncic and big man DeAndre Ayton. We’ve seen talented prospects make similar moves in the past, including Andre Drummond, who reclassified late in the process into the 2011 class to attend UConn for one season.
Drummond wound up sliding all the way to the ninth pick in 2012 after a less-than-stellar freshman campaign, after many thought he’d compete for the top spot in the draft. It’d be a shock if Bagley didn’t end up at the top of 2018 if he were to play college basketball this year. He has a good chance to be a franchise centerpiece at the NBA-level with his talent level.
Bagley is reportedly visiting Duke next week, and then USC and Arizona after that. If any of the three get Bagley, it’d instantly vault them to a top-five ranking next season — he’s that talented. What makes Bagley so good? It’s his unbelievable two-way upside with his combination of versatility, size, length and athleticism.
Bagley has great size for a big man at 6-foot-11, with a 7-2 wingspan. He combines that with the ball-handling ability and fluidity of a guard and the 3-point shooting of a wing. He’s unselfish and can do it all on the court, including being able to switch when needed to succeed in the pick-and-roll at the next level.
Bagley can play a variety of roles on a team with his fluidity, defensive awareness and ball skills. He’s got a great presence at the rim at both ends of the court, as a rim protector and rim-runner. Bagley can block a shot, go coast-to-coast with advanced ball-handling skills and explode to the rim with a powerful slam.
Bagley reminds me of a mix of Lamar Odom and Chris Bosh with his intriguing skill set. As far as weaknesses go, Bagley needs to add more weight to his slight frame to help him bang with the bigs in college and in the NBA. Working on cutting down his turnovers will also be key, as he’s struggled to take care of the ball in the AAU circuit at times.
Obviously, Bagley just needs to keep refining all parts of his skillset as he changes course to head to the college level. He will be under a large microscope throughout the next 12 months, with scouts nitpicking his every move on the court as the possible top pick in 2018. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be in the top-five conversation at the very least, given his overall talent level and comparing him to Porter, Doncic, Ayton and even big man Mohamed Bamba.
I have yet to begin cracking down and diving into the 2018 draft, but Bagley adds a lot of star power to a draft that already seemingly has plenty of it. The college basketball season will be even more exciting to watch from a draft standpoint and fan standpoint with Bagley in the conversation competing for the top slot next year.
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