Marvin Bagley III is the No. 1 basketball recruit in the country. The 6’11 big man is taking his official college visits right now, with Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, UCLA, Arizona, and USC as the finalists.
The Trojans just raised the bar during a visit to Southern Cal on Thursday. Head coach Andy Enfield’s push for Bagley included extending a scholarship offer to his two younger brothers, incoming sophomore guard Marcus and ..... 7-year-old Martay.
As far as recruiting tricks go, this is about as shameless as it gets. At least when UCLA got commitments from all three Ball brothers to secure the services of Lonzo Ball, the youngest brother (LaMelo Ball) was about to enter high school. USC just extended a scholarship offer to a child who should be in first or second grade.
It is a mostly meaningless gesture, of course. If Martay Bagley “accepts” USC’s offer, there is nothing binding the school to that agreement 11 years from now. Schools can pull an offer from a senior the week before signing day if they want to. It’s also highly possible Enfield won’t even be employed by the school at that point.
Give credit to USC, though: If there’s one way to impress a 7-year-old, it’s with a fancy cupcake machine:
He should have committed right there, to be honest.
If anything, this shows the caliber of prospect Marvin Bagley III is and how badly USC wants him. There was a recent report that Bagley is considering “reclassifying” to move up a grade and play college basketball this upcoming season. The same report named USC and Duke as the apparent front-runners in his recruitment.
Landing Bagley would immediately vault USC into the national title picture. The Trojans were No. 11 in our early projection of next season’s top 25 off the strength of an impressive core of returning players. The Trojans have a great group of guards with Jordan McLaughlin, De’Anthony Melton, Elijah Stewart and incoming Duke transfer Derryck Thornton. They have an athletic group of frontcourt players with Chimezie Metu, Bennie Boatwright and Shaqquan Aaron. Incoming freshman Charles O’Bannon Jr. should also be a valuable shooter as a McDonald’s All-American.
The one thing USC doesn’t have? A sure-fire NBA stud. That’s what Bagley is. If he plays college ball next year, he’ll compete to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft with Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr., Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton and Euro sensation Luka Doncic. If Bagley remains in his current grade, he’s the early front-runner to go No. 1 in the 2019 draft.
We have seen colleges offer children scholarships before. Ryan Boatright accepted a scholarship offer from Tim Floyd and USC when he was in eighth grade before eventually helping UConn win the national championship in 2013. Football programs aren’t above this, either. Nevada recently offered a 9-year-old.
In this case, the offer to Bagley’s 7-year-old brother is a gesture made by Enfield to endear himself to the family to get a commitment from Marvin III. If it works, this completely shameless recruiting move will look brilliant.