In the last 17 seasons, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has had his fair share of young teams. But for the first time since 1999-2000, the Blue Devils' roster will feature seven freshmen, capped by a key last-minute
Marvin Bagley III, the top-ranked player in the Class of 2018, announced on ESPN's SportsCenter that he will reclassify to the Class of 2017 and join Duke this season. The 6-foot-11 power forward opted for the Blue Devils ahead of Southern California and UCLA, becoming another piece of a young frontcourt in Durham that already includes sophomores Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier as well as fellow freshman Wendell Carter.
Bagley said on SportsCenter that Danny Ferry has allowed him to wear the retired No. 35 at Duke. After the reclassification announcement, he immediately became the top player in the 2017 class and gave the Blue Devils the top-ranked recruiting class ahead of Kentucky.
"The brotherhood there, that’s what Coach K preached to me and my family," Bagley said during his announcement. "You have to be special to go to a place like that."
Bagley is completing his coursework at Sierra Canyon School in Los Angeles this month, and the NCAA will review his transcript and decide whether to clear him to play this year. The first day of class at Duke is Aug. 28, and ESPN's Jonathan Givony reported that the NCAA's ruling will likely come within days or weeks.
Another projected one-and-done, Bagley
It has already been a good last few days for Krzyzewski, who underwent successful right knee replacement surgery Sunday morning and then added a key piece for his 2018 recruiting class in Tre Jones. Now, Bagley can be an immediate weapon for the 70-year-old coach and his inexperienced Duke team this season.
"Marvin is a special basketball talent and a tremendous young man,” Krzyzewski said in a program press release Tuesday. “He is completely dedicated to his improvement as both a player and student and, given his family’s deep history in this area, he is fully aware of what it means to be part of Duke University. We’re thrilled to add Marvin to our program.”
The Phoenix native has the size to be a consistent rebounder for the Blue Devils, averaging a double-double as a junior at Sierra Canyon, yet his soft shooting stroke and innate ball-handling skills make Bagley a unique talent. He will likely fill a multidimensional role on both ends of the floor and make Duke, despite its youth, potentially as dangerous as any team in college basketball.
This article was updated Aug. 15 at 4:30 p.m. to include Krzyzewski's quote.