Has there been a more dominant player in the country this spring than Marvin Bagley III? After yet another outstanding performance in LA, the answer may now be a resounding no.
The Nike Phamily (CA) big man was an unstoppable force on both ends of the floor while leading his squad to their first two victories of the season, including one where they beat Howard Pulley, one of the top-ranked teams in the league all season long.
Averaging nearly 28 points per game over the two days on the West Coast, Bagley showed off his complete arsenal, whether it was taking on multiple defenders to open up chances for his teammates before cleaning up a miss with a put-back, draining a short jumper from inside the key in an unsuspecting defender’s grill, or using his exceptional face-up game to score essentially at will any time he had the rock, the top-ranked player in the 2018 class always left his mark.
Photo credit: Jon Lopez
Aside from the gaudy scoring numbers, Bagley was incredibly efficient at almost 60 percent from the field, and his work on the boards may be his most valuable contribution. The averages say 15.3 rebounds per contest, but anyone watching the Phamily over the weekend will tell you it looked closer to 30. The young man’s length, instincts and willpower led to several second- and third-chance opportunities for the Phamily, most of which Bagley was able to easily convert himself.
The offensive part of the game has always been a major strength for Bagley, as he clearly works his butt off to polish and add to his array of skills, including his long range shooting and ball-handling. Perhaps the biggest sign of his potential, however, was shown when he was protecting the rim. Throughout the four games, Bagley was tasked with defending essentially the whole interior, most of the time against more than one big man. Not only was Bagley up for the challenge, he changed the way teams played by proving he wasn’t going to back down. And the entire time, he was doing it while being constantly double and triple-teamed.
Bagley created chaos for opponent’s while protecting the rim, and his unbelievable motor was on full display as he was turning back shots and interfering with passing lanes, averaging three and a half blocks and over a steal per game to add to his line.
Though Bagley’s team only won the two games on the season, the beauty of the EYBL is that the final four teams in the Peach Jam field could be anyone regardless of record. That idea is one that will excite and intrigue many who want to see the 6--foot-11 big man play against (and dominate) the nation’s best a few more times.