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.
Marvin Bagley III Returns After High School Ineligibility, Not Focusing on Schools Yet
NEW YORK – Marvin Bagley III showing up at the Nike EYBL session in Brooklyn on Saturday morning normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but the last few months haven’t been normal for the top-ranked player in the Class of 2018.
As a sophomore last season, the 6-foot-11 Bagley left Hillcrest Prep in November, enrolled at Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon in January, was ruled ineligible to play after the state determined the transfer was athletically motivated, then lost the appeal. In the end, Bagley was left without a season, making his playing for Phoenix Phamily against RM5 on Saturday significant.
“That was the hardest time of my life, not being able to play, sitting on the bench and watching,” Bagley said at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook. “I love the game, and I obviously want to play and do things on the court. During that process, I was just staying positive.
“It was the greatest feeling being back out there.”
Bagley said the plan is to return to Sierra Canyon in the fall, and he is eligible to play immediately after sitting out.
Saturday’s Phoenix Phamily-RM5 game drew a throng of high-major coaches. Bill Self, Larry Brown, Lon Kruger, Shaka Smart and Duke assistant Jeff Capel were just some of the coaches surrounding Court 1, which featured not only Bagley, but also another 2017 star power forward Billy Preston. Bagley holds offers from Kentucky, Duke, and a host of others, but there is no list, and nothing recruiting-wise is imminent. He says he visited UCLA recently, and Duke ‘not too long ago,’ but wasn’t giving up much beyond that when the topic came up.
On June 15, college coaches can contact class of 2018 kids directly for the first time. It will be then that Bagley’s recruitment picks up major steam.
“They’re all showing love,” Bagley said. “I’m not worried about the college part of it yet, I still have another two years left of high school. I’m just sucking it all in, the high school experience, being able to play with my teammates in different states, going around the world.
“I’m just enjoying it. When the college time comes, that’s when I’ll worry about it. I see the coaches out there, but I try not to think about it.”
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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.