by Josh Adams, @NCAAHoopsDigest
Marvin Bagley III doesn’t look like he’s from this planet. In a court full of giants and track stars he appears taller, quicker and has more energy than the Energizer bunny.
His game is part Kevin Durant, a little bit of Tim Duncan and sometimes he has moves that make you think he could dominate in the NBA from the second he puts on a uniform. He also would be in high school without reclassifying right before the season started. Can you imagine this talent right now playing a Simi-Valley Country Day team?
The numbers to start his career are staggering. Bagley is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds through the first 10 games of his career. Don’t forget, he was knocked out of the game against #2 Michigan State within the first ten minutes of the contest. He has simply been dominant and will certainly leave Durham after this season and will be greeting Adam Silver on stage as the number one pick in the NBA draft.
Bagley and Grayson Allen have turned into the guys that will pick up the rest of the team when the game is winding down. Against Florida, the Blue Devils were down by seventeen points with ten minutes remaining. Bagley scored ten points in the last seven minutes in a 15-2 Blue Devils run to end the game with the Blue Devils emerging victorious. On Wednesday night in front of a hostile crowd in Bloomington, Bagley once again had a double-double with twenty three points and ten rebounds in leading Duke to a victory over the Hoosiers. He also went for thirty four points and fifteen rebounds against Texas. These are video game numbers being put up by Bagley.
We are witnessing what could be an historic one year performance by a player that should be in an AP biology class at the moment. Bagley’s reclassification from high school senior to eligible for college caused such a seismic shift in the college basketball world and we’re all feeling it. The road to the Final Four is long and we’re just getting started here in November. While Bagley has put up eye-popping numbers against really good teams, the ACC portion of the schedule is always brutal. Bagley has yet to experience the Duke/North Carolina rivalry and he’ll face challenges from athletic teams like Miami and teams that slow the ball down and play an unorthodox brand of basketball like Virginia. Having the PK80 format as a primer, Bagley didn’t seem fatigued on playing back to back nights. This will be key in the ACC Tournament and when the NCAA Tournament gets going in March.
The lineage of Duke players under Mike Kryzewski have included household names like Christian Lattener and Grant Hill. He’s had one year phenoms like Kyrie Irving and Jabari Parker. None of these players have had the start that Bagley has had in his first ten games in a Blue Devils uniform. At seventy years old and at his thirty-seventh year on the sidelines for Duke, Coach K may have found his best player yet. Bagley is the type of talent that keeps coaches up at night drawing up schemes on a whiteboard.
Hate or love Duke, it will be fascinating to see how good Bagley can be for the rest of the season.