The hype surrounding Marvin Bagley III during his recruitment was insane, and, after the freshman made his debut, it was clearly justified. Analysts raved about the 18-year-old's skill set, proclaiming him to be the best high school player they'd seen since NBA great, LeBron James. When Bagley announced he would reclassify and leave high school a year early, the world held its breath, waiting to see where he would play. As many suspected, the star big man decided to take his talents to Durham to play for Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils, giving Duke the preseason number 1 ranking for the second year in a row.

A look at the season Duke has ahead, as well as a glance at Bagley's skill set shows why Marvin Bagley III is one of College Basketball's best.

What's in store for 2017-2018?

No matter what Duke's recruiting class looks like, the Blue Devils expect to be in the national title conversation year in and year out. This year's class puts them at the forefront of that conversation. Coach K boasts a class containing Bagley, Alex O'Connell, Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter, Jr., Gary Trent, Jr., Jordan Tucker, and Jordan Goldwire. Four of those players ranked in the top ten of high school recruits, giving Duke the nation's best recruiting class this season. As often is the case with large numbers of freshman, it was hard to tell how well the team would mesh with current players like Grayson Allen, Marques Bolden, and Javin DeLaurier, but Duke silenced many doubters with their first two games this season.

More importantly, Bagley proved that he is just as incredible as analysts proclaimed. Bagley put up 25 points and 10 rebounds in his first game with Duke, the most points ever scored by a number 1 recruit in a debut game. As if that wasn't impressive enough, Bagley followed up that performance with a 24 point, 10 rebound effort in his second game.

Duke's first real test comes in the form of Miles Bridges and number 2 Michigan State, but, if Bagley continues to play like this, the Blue Devils look to have a decided advantage against the Spartans.

The season is young, but Duke looks to be in mid-season form already. They will be tested with tougher and more experienced opponents in the future, and they may not always come out on top in those games, but the talent on their roster will definitely take them far this season.

It looks to be another dominant season for the team in Durham.


Bagley is an athletic and versatile forward. At 6'11" with a 7'1" wingspan, he possesses good size and length for his position. With that size comes incredible coordination and fluidity. Bagley has a quick first step and is faster than most players his size. He can score in a variety of ways. He can shoot from deep as well as score in the post. In addition to scoring, he's a decent distributor off the drive and out of the post. He plays under control and doesn't force many drives or passes. On defense, Bagley moves his feet well enough and fast enough that he can guard multiple positions. He can get off the ground quickly and has incredible timing.

His quick jump allows for many more rebound and put-back opportunities. For his size, he's a very good ball handler who uses well-developed techniques to score rather than just relying on superior athleticism.


While Bagley is a do-it-all player, he does have much he can improve upon. He tends to struggle when the offense slows into a half-court set. While he can put the ball on the floor, his handling tightens up when the defense pressures him, resulting in turnovers. While his shooting form is solid, his shooting results fall well short of expectations the further he gets from the basket. His three-point and mid-range game will need to improve if he is to play well at the next level.

While he looks dominant in the paint, Bagley's post game is rather basic (which makes sense; he's only eighteen). His arsenal of moves will need to expand to compete with better post defenders. The biggest knock on Bagley is his leadership ability. He often struggles to get the most out of his teammates, which concerns NBA scouts about his fit with certain teams. If he can push himself to be a better leader and teammate, he will have untapped potential as a pro.

Overall analysis

Bagley is an incredibly gifted athlete with a variety of skills. He will be arguably the most talented player in the 2018 NBA draft. While he does have a long way to go, he has already shown vast improvement in his first two games and has a long season ahead of him. He's a young player who is learning very quickly. Until he declares for the draft, he will continue to improve at Duke and show why he is considered one of NCAA basketball's finest players this year.