by Cameron Rivers.
After an 85-81 loss against the Kansas Jayhawks in the Elite Eight, Duke’s season had come to a close. Arguably, the most talented Blue Devil’s roster in the last fifteen years saw their season end with all five of their starters scoring in double figures. The lineup that featured four of the top High School Prospects from the Class of 2017 and senior leader Grayson Allen, were perceived to be the most talented group in college basketball. However, throughout the season Marvin Bagley III seemed to emerge over the rest and cement himself in a class of his own.
Scouts and experts say that Bagley’s size, length, and skillset is comparable to future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. While at first the comparison shocked me, I started to think “What would Kevin Garnett’s numbers look like in his first year of college?”
Would they be close to 21 points and 11 rebounds while shooting an efficient 60 percent from the field?
I would venture to say Garnett’s numbers would have probably been identical. Even without the Garnett comparison, Bagley’s resume speaks for itself. He won the ACC player of the year award as a freshman and is in the running to win college basketball’s most coveted individual honor, The Wooden Award.
There has not been a player at Duke with Bagley’s skillset and talent in the last ten years, and that includes former number two overall NBA draft pick Jabari Parker. While Bagley was looked at as the consensus number one pick in the preseason, the emergence of Arizona’s Deandre Ayton and Oklahoma’s Trae Young have seemed to have opened up the conversation of who deserves to be selected at the top of the 2018 draft. However, if NBA general managers were smart, this would not even be a question. Bagley is more physically ready for the NBA than Young and while Bagley does not maintain the imposing size of Ayton, he possess a more versatile skillset that will translate to the NBA game well.
Bagley’s combination of size, athleticism and motor will make him a top five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft but if you were really paying attention to college basketball then you know he should be the undisputed first selection.