One Year Of Bagley Will Have To Do

Sierra Canyon basketball star will reclassify to the Class of 2017, will likely play for Duke during the coming season and then enter the NBA Draft next spring. He’ll never be Mr. Basketball for California, but will count as being from California on all-time historical lists.

Proudly displaying a Duke jersey and wearing a suit that made him look like in one sense that he already knows how to dress for the NBA Draft, Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth’s Marvin Bagley announced on Monday night on ESPN that he will indeed reclassify up to the Class of 2017 and gave a commitment to Duke for the upcoming basketball season.

Photo: Andrew Drennen

Bagley was the State Junior Player of the Year for the 2016-17 season and was a finalist to be Mr. Basketball State Player of the Year, but the top honor instead went to senior guard Ethan Thompson from Bishop Montgomery of Torrance. He’s been regarded as the No. 1 college prospect for the Class of 2018 since entering high school and now some have him as the No. 1 player for 2017, even going in front of consensus 2016-17 National Player of the Year Michael Porter Jr.

In California, our final Cal-Hi Sports Hot 100 for 2016-17 has already been published, but he’ll supplant his likely future college teammate Gary Trent Jr. from Prolific Prep of Napa as the No. 1 prospect. If our initial Cal-Hi Sports Hot 100s for the 2017-18 year were released today, Jordan Brown from Woodcreek of Roseville would be the No. 1 prospect. He was the class player of the year by Cal-Hi Sports his first two high school seasons, but Bagley edged him last year in his only year of playing high school ball in California.

Bagley’s reclassification possibilities had been reported by many analysts for more than two months. It makes complete sense since it moves up his playing clock by one year and gets him closer to his first NBA contract.

With Bagley not playing for another high school this season, Sierra Canyon will be the high school he’ll be associated with for the duration of his playing career. Bagley is an above average student and will in all likelihood be eligible at Duke this fall. It’s been something his family has been planning and had in the works for some time. For some reason if his eligibility with Duke is not cleared by the NCAA and he doesn’t play there this upcoming season, when he’s introduced in future years at NBA events it might be “and from Sierra Canyon High School, Marvin Bagley.”

Bagley played initially at Corona del Sol High in Tempe, Ariz. He transferred to Sierra Canyon during his sophomore year but was ruled ineligible by the CIF Southern Section based on a rule about athletically motivated transfers that was removed last spring by the CIF Federated Council. He played for the Trailblazers last season and averaged 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and shot 66 percent from the field.

As was mentioned during the most recent NBA Draft, when Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills went at No. 2 in the first round, there hasn’t been a player from a California high school to go at No. 1 since Bill Walton (Helix, La Mesa) in 1974. It didn’t look like there was a chance for that to happen until Bagley’s draft, which now probably will be this spring and not two years from now.

With a player like Bagley around, Sierra Canyon was expected to remain in the mix for the CIF Open Division state title next season despite four starters from the 2016-17 roster going on to major colleges. The Trailblazers will still have transfer Cassius Stanley from Harvard-Westlake and K.J. Martin from Chaminade, among others, but without Bagley it’s going to hard for them to keep up with Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in the early race for state preseason No. 1.

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