Marvin Bagley, Jr.: First of all it’s a blessing that these schools are trying to see how I play the game, and trying to see me when I play in the games. At the same time I’m just keeping my head straight and working hard in the gym on areas that I need to improve on. I try not to worry about it, only thing I’m focused on right now is getting my game to the next level.
Speaking of working on your game I noticed you’ve already been able to participate in USA Basketball. What was that experience like for you?
Just being there it was a great experience because with all the USA Stuff, all the guys that have been there before and all the competition out there, it was amazing. I was blessed to have a chance to go out there and do what I do. I definitely learned a lot from those guys.
You hear a lot about the friendships that are developed through USA Basketball, has that been something you’ve experienced?
Yeah there’s a lot of players that I already knew there, it was cool to talk to them and get to know them more than I did before and it was cool also to talk with guys I never had before. To be around them was a great experience. I’m good friends with Nazi Reed, Cam Johnson, Darius Garland and Markus Howard too and I’m also good friends with Troy Brown, Markus Howard, I’m real good friends with them.
How far back does your relationship go with Troy Brown?
It actually goes way back to the 6th or 7th grade because we played on the same team, the West Coast All Stars I think it was called. We played a lot of tournaments on the west coast together and ever since then we’ve had a good friendship. We stay in contact. Playing with Troy was a great experience and just to be on the court with him when we got to play together again, it was great for me and a lot of fun.
Your dad mentioned that you got a chance to visit Duke and some programs already—what’s it been like for you getting to visit programs this early in your process?
It’s been great to be able to step on the campus and see stuff that you see on the TV in person. Just being able to go visit schools and see how they operate and see how their weight rooms look and how everything is at each place, it’s been a great experience for me.
What sort of questions did you personally go in hoping to answer or explore when you went on these visits?
I really didn’t have questions, I was more going there to hear what they had to say and I was trying to learn something about the schools.
With that approach—what do you think you learned when you were on Duke’s campus recently? What were your big take-aways from the visit?
I learned that Duke has a real good school and it’s most importantly a family. When we were walking around the campus we saw a lot of people that were former players from a long time ago under Coach K and they came back to be around each other and be with Coach K. It was great.
Which former players did you get an opportunity to meet in that setting?
Mike Gminski and Danny Ferry. Also, I saw Grayson Allen down there as well. We didn’t really talk a lot, so I met them and we were walking around and just saying ‘hello, how are you doing’, that type of stuff with a lot of the players. We didn’t have too much of a conversation.
What were your impressions of the campus and facilities?
Oh man it was nice. Everything is in order and really nice and everything is all there for you, you just have to go get it if you want it. I felt pretty comfortable over there.
What do you remember from your time with the coaching staff?
I remember that the coaches were talking about their system and previous players and how they worked differently in their system and how each year it’s something different. It was great listening to that and they did a good job at making me feel really comfortable.
Was there anything you learned that surprised you about the Duke program that you didn’t know before?
Oh yeah I learned that players who want to have their jersey retired, they have to play all four years or graduate there in order to be considered. I was talking with Coach Capel and he told me that the players that had their banners up in the rafters, they have to graduate in order to get their banners up, that was cool.
For a player of your talent level oftentimes there’s a decision to make earlier than some in college as to whether to go pro early or not. What is your mindset towards how long you think it’s important for you to spend in college?
I haven’t thought about that, I really don’t know, but whatever happens, happens. I’m just trying to get better and take my game to the next level and just be a good player.
Your dad mentioned that Duke offered a scholarship offer after your visit…..
Yeah, that was amazing. I was honestly shocked at first. Being able to think that a school like that would even want to talk to you or give you a scholarship offer…I just thank God for it. I just keep on doing what I’m doing and try to get better.