Marvin Bagley III Cleared to Play This Season by NCAA

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2017

Sierra Canyon's Marvin Bagley III #35 shoots a free throw against La Lumiere during a high school basketball game at the 2017 Hoophall Classic on Monday, January 16, 2017, in Springfield, MA.. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Duke commit Marvin Bagley III is officially headed to college one year earlier than expected after reclassifying for the 2017 recruiting class and receiving clearance from the NCAA.

On Friday, Duke Basketball announced Bagley was certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center. Matt Norlander of CBSSports.com reported the forward was cleared "both academically and from an amateurism standpoint."

The 5-star recruit was considered the No. 1 player in the 2018 class by Scout.com and maintained that honor with the 2017 group, even with Michael Porter Jr. and DeAndre Ayton also ready to make a significant impact in the upcoming season.

At 6'10 ½", 221 pounds with elite athleticism, Bagley is a dominant force inside on both ends of the court. He can score with consistency and finish well above the rim on offense while protecting the rim with his shot-blocking ability on defense.

He also has unique handle and shooting ability for his size that allows him to create for himself and score like a guard.

Jeff Borzello of ESPN.com said he's "maybe the best prospect since Anthony Davis."

The 18-year-old is clearly ready to compete at the college level, which helps justify this decision.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com previously reported the Arizona native filed paperwork to reclassify into the 2017 class, but he still needed to be cleared by the NCAA. The latest news indicates Bagley will be able to play the upcoming season and likely come one step closer to reaching the NBA.

"I just want to get better," Bagley said in July, per Adam Zagoria of FanRag Sports. "You can have the talent, but I want to grow as a person. I want to be around great people and be in an environment that's helping me to grow. I'm excited about this college thing, man, wherever I go."

While he earned offers from nearly every top program in the country, he narrowed down his top six to USC, UCLA, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona. He eventually settled on the Blue Devils as a team that provides a good fit on the court while allowing him to make an impact right out of the gate.

With Bagley's talent, the NCAA's decision could provide a major shift in the college basketball landscape for the 2017-18 season.

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