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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / December 11.
  • Notre Dame’s Mike Brey says Duke’s Marvin Bagley looks like the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NEW YORK — Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III is expected to be a top-5 pick in the NBA Draft come June, but after getting another first-hand look at the fabulous freshman Notre Dame coach Mike Brey says Bagley looks like the top pick.

    “Bagley was just the first pick in the draft,” Brey said after the freshman big man went for 33 points and 17 rebounds in Duke’s 88-70 thrashing of Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals at Barclays Center. “He made a couple, and I just said to myself, ‘Wow, he’s really good.'”

    A slew of NBA scouts have been on hand in Brooklyn this week, and they will be back to see Bagley and his teammates when Duke faces arch-rival North Carolina in Friday’s ACC semifinals.

    Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has coached five top-3 NBA Draft picks since 2011 — more than Kentucky’s John Calipari or Kansas’ Bill Self during that span — as he’s increasingly recruited one-and-done type players. Now Bagley is expected to follow the recent trend of Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram, Jabari Barker, Jahlil Okafor and other Duke players who went near the top of the draft.

    “Obviously Marvin had a great game, and there were some things that — where we could go to him and he was taking advantage of it,” Coach K said.

    At 6-foot-11, Bagley was repeatedly able to get the ball in paint, turn left and score near the basket. Notre Dame — like so many other opponents this year — simply had no answer. He notched his fourth game of 30 points and 15 rebounds this season.

    “Yeah, I mean, he’s really impressive,” Brey said. “He’s a can’t-miss star in my opinion, just watching that tonight.”

    Notre Dame senior Bonzie Colson, a four-year veteran of the college ranks, couldn’t help but be impressed by the freshman, too.

    “Since I’ve been here, he’s one of the toughest players I’ve ever gone against,” Colson said. “He’s really explosive as he has a really explosive first step, so a lot of respect to him and how he played. He deserved all the honors he got this year, and he’s a heck of a player. I respect him a lot.”

    Unlike Colson, Bagley figures to only be on Duke’s campus for one season before heading to the NBA. He’s in the mix along with Luka Doncic of Real Madrid, Arizona’s Deandre Ayton and perhaps a few others to be the No. 1 overall pick.

    For now, though, he’s looking to lead Duke to a second straight ACC Tournament title and then a deep run in March.

    “For my first time being here, a lot of the freshmen’s first time being here, it’s a great experience,” Bagley said. “We can’t do anything but take it one game at a time. We can’t look ahead. We can’t assume that we have an extra day because one loss and we’re back home and we don’t get to come back, practice a little bit more, come back and play in this tournament again, so we really have to every single day lock in and just come together, man, and just try to figure everything out that we need to figure out and just continue to get wins.”

    DUKE’S 2018 CLASS WILL BE ON DISPLAY IN JORDAN GAME

    Exactly one month from now, Duke’s heralded 2018 recruiting class will be on display back at Barclays Center.

    R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones will all play for the Home team in the Jordan Brand Classic April 8. They comprise the No. 1 recruiting class in 2018, and Barrett, Williamson and Reddish are expected to be among the top picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.

    “We’re looking for kids who can really play and are good academically and are going to be good kids,” Coach K said in January. “That profile for the guys in our program hasn’t changed since the early ’80s. But how long you have them and what you try to do during the year, especially if they’ve committed to you, to establish even a stronger relationship before they get here and then work at it while they’re here because you’re condensing a four-year relationship into about a 10-month relationship once you get the youngster on campus.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.