Bagley_Bermudez

Bagley has been a force for Duke this year. 

The Chronicle's top 10 sports stories of 2017: Marvin Bagley III reclassifies and joins Duke



With the end of 2017 quickly approaching, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest sports stories of the year. Each day, The Blue Zone will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year in Blue Devil athletics.

Coming in at No. 3 on the list: Marvin Bagley III's decision to reclassify and join Duke

Marvin Bagley III could very well be playing high school basketball right now.

Thankfully for the high schoolers that he would have played against, he was able to reclassify and join the Blue Devils.

After his announcement on ESPN’s SportsCenter Aug. 14, Bagley, the nation’s top recruit, immediately gave Duke the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation and made it the national title favorite. 

"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 had worked all summer to graduate high school a year early and become a part of the recruiting class of 2017, not 2018. He also announced that Blue Devil legend Danny Ferry allowed him to wear his retired No. 35 jersey.

So far, Bagley has been everything promised—and more. 

The Phoenix native has averaged 21.1 points and 10.9 rebounds already this season, giving Duke a dominant post presence that it has not had since Jahlil Okafor led the Blue Devils to their fifth title in 2015. 

David Robinson, former NBA star and father of Duke’s Justin Robinson, has compared Bagley to Tim Duncan, a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer and five-time NBA champion. It may seem like a lofty comparison for an 18-year-old, but he has largely looked the part—so far. 

As he has gone, the Blue Devils have followed.

When Grayson Allen fouled out against Texas, Bagley stepped up to help them pull off a 16-point comeback victory, scoring 34 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. In Duke’s next game against Florida, he added 30 points and 15 boards, becoming the first player to do so since Christian Laettner—for the second straight game. 

“It seems like every game he goes out there and it’s a simple but beautiful 30 and 15,” Allen said. “It’s not something you see very often. 30 and 15 should be something very loud and in your face, but he just goes out there and makes it look easy.”

But when he took just one shot inside the arc in the second half against Boston College, Duke suffered a shocking upset. After scoring 10 points in the first 12 minutes, Bagley scored just five points in the final 28. 

Bagley’s season hasn’t been without a scare—Javin DeLaurier inadvertently poked him in the eye in an eventual win against then-No. 2 Michigan State, forcing him to sit out most of the game. He couldn’t see out of his left eye for 45 minutes after the incident occured, but he was able to return three days later to drop 19 points and 11 rebounds on Southern. 

Since then, he has continued to be his dominant self, recording a double-double in every game but two—both of which were blowouts in which he played fewer than 29 minutes. 

Bagley will likely leave for the NBA Draft after this season, but Duke fans hope he will be able to carry the Blue Devils to their second national championship in four years. And right now, it seems that is all he is focused on. 

“The main thing you’re worried about is how he gets along with the guys, and Marvin’s terrific,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He’s got a great motor and he’s as hard a worker as we have. He’s unlike any player we have, so he fits in great—on and off the court, it’s worked out.” 

Check back tomorrow to see what story comes in at No. 2 on our list. 

READ MORE about Bagley's reclassification and season with Duke: 

Marvin Bagley III brings excitement to Duke's season following late summer arrival

Marvin Bagley III reclassifies to 2017, joins Duke men's basketball's loaded freshman class

Danny Ferry explains decision to let Marvin Bagley III wear No. 35 for Duke men's basketball

Marvin Bagley III silenced in second half of loss at Boston College

Just do it: Duke storms back for PK80 title game win vs. Florida

IN HIS BAG: Duke gets 34 points from Marvin Bagley III to rally past Texas

A look at the rest of our top 10 countdown to date:

No. 10: Men's soccer makes first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011

No. 9: Duke softball play its first-ever game

No. 8: Both men's and women’s golf take ACC titles

No. 7: Duke football goes bowling for the fifth time in six years

No. 6: Duke rallies to win the PK80 Motion Bracket title

No. 5: Duke women's soccer reaches College Cup in historic season

No. 4: Grayson Allen returns to Duke for senior season


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