Behind The Scenes With Marvin Bagley

Perhaps the top overall player in high school basketball, 2018 PF Marvin Bagley has recently narrowed his list to a final six which includes Duke.  We spoke with Bagley and his father recently to get an idea of where the process is, and where it’s going.

Going to the Top 6 for Marvin, what led you guys to want to make that decision at this stage of the process?

Marvin Bagley, Jr (father): Well, those are the schools that he’s most interested in and when you narrow it down that way, it cuts down on a lot of unnecessary communication and it saves their time and ours, that was a big reason.

So that Top 6…are they the schools that were consistently communicating with you guys the most?

Mr. Bagley: There was communication with all of those programs and even after he cut it to the six, we still had some communication with some schools who called, one particular school called and said, “we know you picked the Top-6 schools and we didn’t make it, but keep us in mind since a lot of things can happen in two years.” But yeah, those were the six schools who communicated the most and they were also the schools that we felt like would help him reach both his potential and his goals.

How specific have those six gotten about how they view Marvin as a player and how they would develop him if he were to play in their program?

Mr. Bagley: It’s been nothing too specific, they have just been very supportive of the process. Obviously you have different reasons for liking different schools whether it be tradition, or the coaching staff or location or whatever it may be, everything plays a part.

I noticed that more than half of his list is West Coast schools, then there’s Duke and Kentucky. Was there any rhyme or reason for his list having more than half West Coast schools?

Marvin: They really are all just great schools, it’s just the schools that I’m interested in the most happen to be on the West Coast and then some are closer to the East Coast. I didn’t have that in mind when I reduced the list.

So what went into the Top-6 family discussions as you figured out the list?

Mr. Bagley: Yeah, it was different, it was actually Marvin leading it.

Marvin: It was me doing a lot of the talking on different schools and I prayed about it, then I chose those schools that I could see myself going to. Once I told my family, they understood and it was going to be my decision.

Since you dropped down to the Top-6, what have you noticed about the communication with the staffs at those schools?

Marvin: It’s still very calm, I get calls or texts every now and then, but it’s not too much. I’m still trying to enjoy the process and not getting overwhelmed with it.

What are your thoughts on the basketball situations at those schools?

Mr. Bagley: My opinion is that Marvin still has two years of school left and a whole lot can change in the college basketball landscape in the next two years. So when we really take a serious look, it’ll be when he’s on the way out and then you look at the specific details. Right now you can only go off the tradition and the history at those schools and with the six he picked, they have pretty good history and tradition.

You’ve mentioned before getting to visit some of those programs like Duke and others. Were there things you saw during those visits that led to them being included in the Top-6?

Mr. Bagley: I think all the schools we communicated with, they expressed the opportunity to always have a scholarship, even when you leave to get an education—so that was very important.

How much is the recruiting efforts of those six in Marvin’s class going to affect how he thinks about his potential situation at each program?

Mr. Bagley: Obviously to us, the more that they recruit, the better their team will be and the better chance to win, which is what it’s all about. That’s the whole point of playing the game is to win.

Marvin: I haven’t really thought much about that, wherever I can go in and get better and develop. So whether it’s coming in with a lot of guys in my class or just me going into a veteran group, wherever I can go get better, that’s what I’m looking at the most.

Has there been anybody at the schools in the Top-6 that you have just really liked how they were utilized and developed?

Marvin: I’d say Kentucky when Anthony Davis was there, I was watching them a lot and I liked how he played. I don’t know what they exactly run, but when I watched him play, they seemed to get him the ball and let him do his thing. I see a little bit of comparison but we do play two different games, I don’t try to play like him, but we have some similarities but we do a lot of things differently.

Mr. Bagley: Coach K has mentioned some guys to us too like Jabari Parker, Justise Winslow, and Brandon Ingram. He told us that Marvin does similar things to them, but you are you, you know what I mean. It’s not that he says that we want you to do exactly what they did, it’s basically a freedom there like these guys had, not saying you would play the same way, but you would have the same freedom to play that they did.

How much does that message affect the way you guys think about Duke?

Marvin: It sounds good, it definitely sounds good, but I’ve also learned in the past that you have to see things and look at things and not just go off of what people say. I’m not saying that Coach K said anything untrue, I just gotta see for myself and even though I watch it, I have to see for myself there and take my time and see where things are.

Does that extend to you guys are planning visits anywhere?

Marvin: Oh yeah, I’ve been to one game already, I went to the Duke vs Buffalo game last year, but it’ll be good to go back and see another game and make sure so I can project things out more. The Cameron Crazies were great, they were loud the whole time and Coach K coaches the team well and Coach Capel too, they do a great job and I really like it a lot. I talk to Coach Capel every now and then, but it’s not overwhelming, you know? They just text me every now and then and check on me, I text them and see how things are going and I do that with all the schools, so it’s not too much.

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