Bagley could emerge as one of college basketball's brightest stars this season.

Duke men's basketball 2017-18 player previews: Marvin Bagley III

Marvin Bagley III

  • Year: Freshman
  • Height: 6-foot-11
  • Position: Power Forward

Game Breakdown: Bagley was the consensus No. 1 recruit in the class of 2018 before reclassifying to the class of 2017, where he was also the consensus No. 1 recruit. The Phoenix, AZ., native averaged 24.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game as a junior at Sierra Canyon, leading his team to a 27-3 record and earning himself a USA Today All-USA first team selection in 2017. Bagley also played for the Nike Phamily on the EYBL circuit, along with some of his current Duke team members, in 2017 and averaged 25.8 points, 3.1 blocks, and a league-high 14.9 rebounds per game. 

Due to his versatility, Bagley is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the court. On offense, he uses his face-up game to score whenever he gets the opportunity, but can also draw in double teams in order to free up an open shot for a teammate. He can utilize his agility and quickness to defend the perimeter as well as his 7-foot wingspan to defend the paint. While his range does extend out to the three point line, he doesn’t usually shoot 3-pointers since his strength and athleticism make him a dangerous weapon in the paint, in the form of offensive and defensive rebounds, shots, and put-backs. While Bagley plays with intensity and aggression, he has the ability to see the floor around him and is willing to create opportunities for his teammates.

Role on the Team: Bagley has the potential to make a huge impact on a young Blue Devil squad, ranked No. 1 in the AP Preseason Poll. With his dominant presence on offense and defense, and his ability to be a leader, Bagley should be able to become a focal point for this team. Paired with senior guard Grayson Allen, the two could be a duo to beat this upcoming season. In addition to his high-scoring capability for the Blue Devils with his wide-range jumper and aggressive play in the paint, Bagley will likely also be an anchor on defense due to his athleticism, size, and ability to defend the rim. 

NBA Comparison: With the tools to be a versatile and important player on both ends of the court in more ways than one, it is only fair that Bagley be compared to power forward Anthony Davis—now one of the top power forwards in the NBA. While being an elite offensive weapon, Davis is also a top-notch defender, and was one of the most dominant college defenders his freshman year at Kentucky. While Davis had 5 inches of wingspan on Bagley III, giving him a one-up on the defensive side, Bagley III has the potential to impact the game similarly to Davis.

Projected Stats: 15.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG

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