Top high school prospect Marvin Bagley has reclassified into the class of 2017, and will now be eligible to play college basketball during the coming season, rather than in 2018, he announced on Monday. As Evan Daniels of Scout.com details, Bagley committed to playing ball at Duke in 2017/18, making the Blue Devils the odds-on favorite to open the year as the No. 1 team in the nation.
While Bagley’s decision to attend Duke is good news for Mike Krzyzweski’s program, his reclassification itself is the most important news for NBA teams and evaluators, who will now have the opportunity to select the big man in the draft next June, assuming he enters the 2018 draft class after his freshman year.
If he does submit his name for next year’s draft, Bagley is expected to be one of a handful of players who will receive consideration for the No. 1 overall pick, alongside Michael Porter, DeAndre Ayton, and Luka Doncic, among others. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony suggests (via Twitter) that he believes there are still seven viable candidates for that top pick, adding that it’s too early to lock anyone in.
In his first 2018 mock draft for ESPN, Givony has Bagley coming off the board at second overall, writing that Duke’s newest player is “a terror in the open court” and has “a natural feel for scoring, rebounding and blocking shots.” NBA scouts will be keeping a close eye this season on the 18-year-old’s defense and outside shooting potential as he transitions to the college game, Givony writes.
Of course, before he can take the court for the Blue Devils, Bagley will still need to be deemed eligible by the NCAA. According to Givony, one college assistant for a team that was recruiting Bagley suggests that he expects that ruling to come in “a matter of days or weeks,” and he’s optimistic the young forward/center will be cleared. “[Bagley’s father] is way too detail-oriented for this not to work,” the assistant told Givony.