Marvin Bagley is a generational talent and his Monday night announcement will likely shift the landscape of college basketball this upcoming 2017-18 season.
Bagley’s big announcement, scheduled for the 11 pm edition of SportsCenter, is expected to be his intentions to reclassify to the Class of 2017 and enroll in college this fall, as well as where he will go for his one season of college basketball. Duke, UCLA and USC are the three contenders for Bagley’s services, each having hosted Bagley on a visit within the last month; but Duke is the most likely of the three.
And that sucks for every team and fan base not named Duke.
With the addition of Bagley, the Blue Devils will instantly jump to the No. 1 overall preseason ranking and become the overwhelming favorite to win the NCAA title. Duke already shares the shortest odds to win it all with Kentucky at 7-to-1, per the latest odds from the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, but those odds will shrink even shorter with the top-ranked player in the country joining what is already considered the second-ranked incoming recruiting class (it will jump Kentucky for first), plus Grayson Allen’s unexpected senior season.
Here’s Duke’s projected starting five, should Bagley commit and gain instant eligibility:
G – Trevon Duval, Freshman (True point guard replacing Frank Jackson; top-ranked point guard and ranked fifth overall in the 2017 ESPN 100)
G – Gary Trent Jr., Freshman (Top-ranked shooting guard and seventh overall player in 2017 ESPN 100)
G – Grayson Allen, Senior (Veteran leader with championship experience; preseason Naismith Player of the Year candidate; NCAA All-American)
F – Marvin Bagley, Freshman
F/C – Wendell Carter Jr., Freshman (Top-ranked power forward and fourth overall player in 2017 ESPN 100)
There will still be questions of youth and depth, which is a longer conversation for another time, but that is the best starting lineup in the country, at least on paper. The insertion of Bagley into the power forward spot — Duke’s only weakness right now, in theory — will have an enormous impact on how the Blue Devils play and how dominant Coach K’s team will be next year.
Bagley can do it all: inside and out, offensively and defensively; which is why he has always been the Class of 2018’s top player and the projected No. 1 overall pick for whatever year he enters the draft. The pieces are now lining up for that to be next summer (sorry, Michael Porter Jr.), and spending seven months in Durham before the NBA may very well earn him a national championship, too.
Of course, there is still a shot he picks UCLA or USC, which will then direct more national championship talk their way, but Duke stands to grow the strongest after Bagley’s Monday announcement.
And that sucks.
Because nobody likes Duke.