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Marvin Bagley Recruiting Update and Final Predictions

Where will the best player in high school hoops and likely No. 1 NBA Draft pick land?

2017 CIF Southern Section Boys Open Division Championship - Semifinals Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

The recruitment of Marvin Bagley III will come to an end tonight.

The five-star forward will announce his decision at 11 pm EST on SportsCenter tonight, marking the end one of, if not the wildest recruitment in the 2017 class. Well, that’s if Bagley is able to successfully reclassify from 2018 into 2017, which seems like will ultimately happen.

Bagley filed paperwork last month with the NCAA to reclassify for 2017. He then went on campus visits to Duke, USC and UCLA. Arizona, Kansas and Kentucky were vying for visits, but Bagley ultimately decided he’s ready to pick now.

Bagley, who hails from Tempe (AZ), has bounced around several high schools before ending up at Sierra Canyon most recently, so there’s some concern that all of that transferring will affect his ability to gain clearance from the NCAA to play next season.

But according to CBS Sports, Bagley’s ultimately goal is to simply become eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft.

Sources told CBS Sports it's not about playing college basketball this season as much as it's about becoming eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft. To be clear, he wants to play college basketball this season. It's his goal. But as long as Bagley graduates early, he'll be eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft regardless of whether the NCAA clears him for freshman eligibility.

The 6-11, 220-pound Bagley is ranked No. 1 overall in the 2018 class by Scout, Rivals and ESPN. 247 has him at No. 2 behind Zion Williamson. However, Bagley will likely be No. 1 overall in all major services as a 2017 recruit, replacing Michael Porter Jr. and DeAndre Ayton in that spot across the various rankings.

With Bagley’s decision coming soon, we gathered our staff for one final roundtable on Bagley, as well as our final predictions on where he ends up.

Tevis Woolery

Marvin Bailey is going to be a multiple-time NBA All-Star, and would probably be the most talented player to play in Rupp Arena since Anthony Davis if Cal is able to pull off a miracle in his recruitment. Quite a miracle it would be, because this one seems to be between USC and Duke.

If he’s able to reclassify into college basketball this season, Bagley would make Duke the favorite for the national championship. At USC, he would lift an already-surging program into a force on the west-coast recruiting scene and contender for the Pac-12.

Watch any five-minute YouTube video of Bagley and you’ll easily see why Calipari wants him. He could play (and be good) in the NBA right now. If he were to stay in the 2018 recruiting class, Kentucky might’ve had a real chance, but with all of the bigs on this year’s roster, I expect Bagley to take the path of least resistance and be the top pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

It’s been long suggested that staying close to family is something that is important to him, and how big of a role that plays will likely determine his destination. I think that his decision will be a small victory for Kentucky fans who don’t want to see a player of his talent wearing the wrong shade of blue.

Prediction: USC

James Streble

Marvin Bagley is one of those special recruits that are ready for the NBA right now. Right now he is ranked as the best player in the 2018 class, a class that includes Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett and a host of other talented players. If Bagley does decide to reclassify, which all indications point to him doing so, he will be a game-changer for whichever team he chooses.

Kentucky is stacked with forwards right now with Jarred Vanderbilt, PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel, and Sacha Killeya-Jones. This is why I think Bagley will not be attending UK in the fall.

The smart money is on Duke at the moment, but don't count out the fact that the Blue Devils already have a five-star power forward with Wendell Carter, the sixth ranked player in the 2017 class. Duke also has 6-11 Marques Bolden as well. Will Bagley go to a team with players already at his position? Duke is not as stacked as Kentucky, but he would have to battle with Carter for the spot.

The dark horse in all of this is Southern California. While USC doesn't have the rich tradition their football team has, Andy Enfield is coming off of a tournament appearance with most of that team intact. The addition of Bagley would put them as a contender in 2017-18. Enfield has already offered both of Bagley's younger brothers — one is a class of 2020 forward and the other is a seven-year-old — in order to help with the elder Bagley's recruitment.

Prediction: USC

Jamie Boggs

Many are calling Marvin Bagley the best recruit since Anthony Davis. Listed as a 6-11 power forward with a guard's skillset, he is going to be an instant game-changer for the program he chooses.

Most signs indicate that he will reclassify to 2017. At this point, that almost seems like a foregone conclusion. There is no reason for him to make his announcement this early otherwise.

He has visited Duke, UCLA, and USC. It seems like all other options may be off the table at this point. Obviously, with Duke in the mix, they have a strong chance to land the young star. USC went as far as to offer scholarships to Bagley's younger brothers, one of which is 7 years old.

However, I believe that Steve Alford and LaVar Ball pull the upset here and bring Bagley into the fold with LiAngelo Ball for a season. Especially with everything happening so quickly with the reclassification, I could definitely see him staying close to home.

Prediction: UCLA

Drew Galayda

Bagley is a versatile stretch four who can change the face of a program. He was noted to be the first recruit in the 2018 class to receive the coveted UK offer. However, things aren’t looking good for the Cats. He recently has visited Duke, USC, and UCLA prior to his Monday announcement.

It remains to be unknown whether Bagley will for sure reclassify and play this season or instead be forced to stay with the 2018 class. If Bagley were to pull a Kevin Knox-like surprise, it would be vital for Kentucky as he would become the foundation of this class or even potentially impact the frontcourt this upcoming season.

Ultimately, I think Andy Enfield’s tactics of offering all three Bagley brothers will pay off as Marvin will choose to stay close to his family and play for USC this season. Hopefully, it just isn’t Duke.

Prediction: USC

Ian Teasley

In my opinion, it's a sure fire thing that Marvin Bagley III is not coming to Kentucky. And this isn't a "Kevin Knox is certainly not coming to Kentucky" deal, this is a certainty that he's not coming. It would be tremendous if he did, especially if his re-classification goes smoothly, but that has yet to be determined, and I just don't see it happening.

Bagley is the number one player in the country, ahead of the likes of Zion Williamson and R.J Barrett, two potential Wildcats. He's one of the those rare recruits in my opinion that doesn't necessarily need a blue-blood to be a great player. Sure, he's considering Duke and may end up going there, but he doesn't need Kentucky or Duke to make his mark on the college basketball world.

With Duke getting a commitment from Tre Jones, and Kentucky almost certainly getting some in the very near future from Immanuel Quickley and others, Bagley is staying out West, close to home, and shocking the country.

Prediction: USC

Graham Duncan

It is still unclear if Bagley’s recruitment will be for an immediate impact this season or if he’ll remain in the 2018 class.

Still, whoever lands him will be getting a versatile player on both sides of the ball. He can jump out of the gym and shoots well from the field. His ability to shoot from three is shaky, but that can be improved. Bagley has the athleticism and competitive edge that will be a huge benefit to any team in the country.

With UK having a loaded class this year and being in the hunt for several top prospects in the 2018 class, I don’t see Bagley picking the Cats. If he reclassifies to this year, he’d be playing in a crowded frontcourt, and there is a good chance next year will be the same.

Bagley will want to go somewhere where he can contend and also be the person through which the offense is run. The two frontrunners right now are Duke and USC; while both offer something that Bagley wants, I think the Blue Devils, with a proven and successful coach and a solid chance to be in the title game every year, have the best chance to get Bagley’s commitment.

Prediction: Duke

Timothy D Coleman Sr.

Marvin Bagley III is the best high school prospect I’ve seen in the last five years. Anthony Davis is the last prospect that was just as good. I have gone back and forth with this. Kentucky never received a visit so they are out. UCLA can offer him more time to finish his courses since they are on a quarter system.

Duke is a school near where his grandmother lives as even though I strongly dislike them would be a major contender with him. USC he would pretty much have the run of the school and he would be “the guy” there. Kansas did not get a visit from Bagley III either.

I think he will want to go to a place that will have a shot at contending for a National Championship, but he wants to be the focal point. So to me, of these schools, I think he will stay close to home with either UCLA or USC.

Prediction: USC

Jeremy Chisenhall

Duke is the favorite for Bagley, but I think he'll flip the script and pick USC. He's spent a ton of time on the west coast, and he's from Arizona, so he'd be closer to home. The only thing that's for sure is that he's not picking Kentucky. He never made it to Lexington for a visit, and calling in his decision this early doesn't look good for UK.

He’s a program-changing talent. Any team that gets him immediately becomes a tournament threat. At USC he’ll be the guy, regardless of whether he reclassifies or not. At Duke he’d be one of many stars.

Prediction: USC