Marvin Bagley III, the consensus No. 1 high school prospect in the world, publicly committed to Duke late Monday in a development that could drastically alter the landscape of college basketball for this upcoming season.
"It's just the brotherhood there," Bagley said in an interview televised by ESPN. "I had a good feeling [about Duke] ever since they offered me a scholarship in the ninth grade. ... I'm just blessed to be in this position."
Bagley also stated publicly for the first time-- that he's trying to graduate early, reclassify and play college basketball this season. Whether he'll be able to accomplish as much remains unclear because it's a process that'll ultimately be decided by the NCAA, and it's a process that could easily and reasonably trickle into the start of the season and/or produce a disappointing result.
In other words, there's still no guarantee the 6-foot-11 forward will ever actually play college basketball. But is it possible? In a word, yes. Multiple sources involved in Bagley's recruitment (and familiar with the NCAA's process for granting freshman eligibility) have told CBS Sports it is definitely possible for Bagley to successfully reclassify and play this season. And if he does, the Blue Devils should be considered the favorites to win the 2018 NCAA Tournament -- which is why Duke has moved to No. 1 in the CBS Sports Preseason Top 25 (and one).
Also worth noting: Bagley is now expected to be in the 2018 NBA Draft regardless of whether he ever plays college basketball -- which is huge news because the highly skilled athlete who is terrific around the rim and comfortable away from it will add another top-shelf prospect to a draft that was already supposed to feature Missouri's Michael Porter Jr., Arizona's DeAndre Ayton and EuroLeague star Luka Doncic. Opinions on those prospects differ. But Bagley is currently atop some, if not most, NBA franchises' big boards, multiple sources told CBS Sports.
"I would take him No. 1," one scout told CBS Sports. "I like the others. But [Bagley] is my No. 1."