Marvin Bagley III, the No. 1 basketball recruit in the country in the class of 2018, could jump up a grade level in school to play college ball next season, according to Jerry Meyer of 247 Sports. If Bagley decides to reclassify, Meyer writes that his recruitment “has the feel of a Duke and USC showdown.”
Bagley is a brilliant talent. The 6’11 forward is an explosive athlete and skilled scorer who is comfortable with the ball in his hands on the perimeter. He’s the type of player that would be in contention for the No. 1 player in any class. He would be a game-changer for both Duke and USC and make either a trendy Final Four pick with his commitment.
There was chatter that Bagley could reclassify up to the class of 2017 a year ago, but he’s stayed in the 2018 class up to this point. He’s been the most dominant high school player in the country on Nike’s EYBL circuit, where he finished second in the league in scoring at 25.8 points per game. Bagley also led the circuit in rebounding (14.9 per game) and finished third in blocks (3.1 per game).
Reclassifying is common for high school players. Andrew Wiggins, Andre Drummond and Noah Vonleh are just a few players who have done it. All three were top-10 picks in the NBA draft.
Bagley’s decision isn’t just huge news for college basketball. It would also make waves in the NBA. Bagley would be in contention for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft if he decides to reclassify. Real Madrid guard Luka Doncic and Missouri-bound forward Michael Porter Jr. were the top two players in SB Nation’s initial NBA mock draft for 2018.
Both Duke and USC already have loaded rosters lined up for next year. The Blue Devils are welcoming two consensus top-10 recruits in big man Wendell Carter and point guard Trevon Duval to a group that also brings back senior shooting guard Grayson Allen. Bagley would slide in at power forward and could push Duke to No. 1 in the preseason polls.
USC is also going to be a powerhouse after falling in the round of 32 last year. The Trojans have a strong group of returning players, led by big man Chimezie Metu, forward Bennie Boatwright and guard De’Anthony Melton. USC also brings back guards Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart while adding Duke transfer Derryck Thornton.
Bagley is the type of talent that would elevate any team. Since I’ve started covering college basketball recruiting in 2013, Bagley is the best individual talent I have seen at the high school level. If he decides to reclassify, it will immediately alter the national title picture for next season.