Marvin Bagley III knows the numerical ranking next to his name on recruiting websites means he’s going to get everybody’s best shot.
Bagley — a 6-foot-11 power forward — has been the consensus No. 1 player in the class of 2018 for as long as reputable recruiting services have had rankings for that group.
On Wednesday — the opening night of the Nike Peach Jam finals — five-star forward Emmitt Williams caused a stir by managing a couple of highlight-reel dunks against Bagley. On Thursday afternoon, fans were standing three deep to get a glimpse at the No. 1 recruit going up against celebrated Missouri commitment Jontay Porter.
None of this is new to Bagley.
“I expect it,” he said. “Everybody’s talking about you in the media, and all of this attention is getting put on you. I expect people to come hard at me every time I step out on the floor, so I have to be ready for that and make sure that I work hard and keep staying on top of my game.”
That game continues to speak for itself.
Bagley led the Nike league in scoring and rebounding this spring and summer, going for 25.8 points and 14.9 boards per game. He also blocked 3.1 shots per game.
“He has all the tools,” Scout.com’s Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “The physical gifts are there. He has really good size for the position. He’s mobile. He’s versatile. He’s athletic. He can score the ball pretty much any way you want a power forward to score the ball. He can step out and make threes. He can face up guys and drive it. He can score on the block. He’s a terrific rebounder. Defensively, he competes. He rebounds. He contests shots.
“I don’t think he has any competition for the No. 1 spot.”
In Daniels’ eyes — and those of most national recruiting analysts — Bagley is the clear No. 1 player in this 2018 class.
Obviously, that means all of the nation’s best college basketball programs are interested.
Bagley, who started his high school career in Arizona but has since moved to a school in the Los Angeles area, has cut his list to UK, Duke, Arizona, Kansas, Southern Cal and UCLA.
After this week’s Peach Jam — the end of the Nike travel season — Bagley will head to Durham, N.C., for his Duke official visit. Some recruiting analysts consider the Blue Devils to be the team to beat for Bagley, who does have ties to the area.
Bagley’s father, Marvin Bagley Jr., grew up there and attended Durham High School before playing college football for North Carolina A&T in nearby Greensboro. The elder Bagley’s professional football career sent him to Arizona, and that’s how the family ended up out West.
Other than the upcoming Duke trip, Bagley said he knows he’ll take official visits to Arizona and Southern Cal in the near future.
“Eventually we’ll get to Kentucky,” he clarified later in the interview. “But I only have three (scheduled) right now, so I’m going to go on those visits and just see what happens next.”
UK’s order in the back of the visit line might seem like bad news for the Wildcats, but Bagley doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to a college decision.
“It’s like a lot of these elite guys — he’s not in any hurry,” Daniels said. “It’s interesting to me that he narrowed down his list, but there hasn’t been much movement since. He hasn’t really jumped in to this recruiting process, in terms of trying to figure something out. So it seems pretty open among those six.”