Over the years, Arizona has produced many elite level college basketball players who have had successful and long careers. Some have had the pleasure of going on to the NBA and others, the professional ranks.
Lafayette "Fat" Lever from Pueblo High School in Tucson, Arizona in 1978 was one such player. He had a very productive career at Arizona State and went on to have a 12-year NBA career.
Corona Del Sol High School’s elite point guard Casey Benson (2014), who led his team to back-to-back-to-back Arizona high school state championships, stands poised to have an enjoyable career at the University of Oregon. I feel he can develop into a Pac-12 All-Conference player. With Benson and the other high-major 2014 kids leaving the state to go on to the college ranks, there is now room for the next elite-level talent to really put Arizona on the map, and establish us as a harvesting ground and recruiting backyard for many major division-I college programs, such as states like California, New York, Philadelphia, Illinois, Washington and Florida.
Corona Del Sol (Tempe) High School’s incoming 6-foot-9 SF/PF freshman Marvin Bagley III is truly the best prospect from Arizona since St. Mary’s (Phoenix) High School and current NBA guard Jerryd Bayless. Bagley is the type of player that will bring attention back to our state from college basketball coaches.
I have followed Marvin as a player since the 6th grade, and I recently had the pleasure of watching him work out again in person, while watching him train with current and prospective division-I college basketball players. Quite frankly, he was the best player on the court, while playing against players 3 and 4 years older than him. His feel for the game as an 8th grader is nothing anyone on the Arizona Preps' staff or I have ever seen. His footwork around the low block for someone his age is impeccable. He can read which way his defenders are playing him, and use his wide arsenal of moves to score the ball at a good rate, or draw a foul and go to the free-throw line. His jump-shot has rapidly developed since the winter, and now he has pro-like lift on it, as well as a much smoother and tighter release on the ball. He can now shoot it off the bounce, or use his rise and get if off - even over bigger defenders. Bagley is also able to get to the basket from various spots on the perimeter with relative ease, while using his long strides and also solid reads of the defender.
Probably the most intriguing part about Marvin’s game is on the defensive end. While standing 6-foot-9 in heigth and having a 7-foot wing-span, it makes it very difficult for any player, regardless of level, to successfully convert a basket over him. He blocks or alters many of the shots that are taken around him, and then uses a quick twitch off the ground to go up to secure the rebound.
While working out, Bagley maintained his high motor and stayed the same throughout the workout, and also looked to be one of the best conditioned kids on the court. All and all, I have never seen a player so good at such a young age, and it was a genuine pleasure watching what looks to be a very bright future for one of the best, if not the best, incoming freshman in all of high school basketball.
Bagley currently holds offers from Creighton, Arizona State, Northern Arizona, University of San Francisco and North Carolina A&T (where his father played his college basketball).
The Arizona Preps staff and myself will be tracking his progress very closely throughout this upcoming summer AAU/club season and 2014-2015 high school basketball season. He plans to attend Corona Del Sol (Tempe) High School in hope of leading them to a fourth-straight state championship, as well as dazzle and entertain Arizona hoops observers and national scouts for many more years to come.
Arizona Hoop Review Scouting Report: Bagley, simply put, is one of the most advanced 8th grade Basketball players that you will ever see. Already standing at 6-9, Bagley moves very well up and down the floor and already plays with a knack for the game well above his age. He has a very quick twitch around the basket, in which he uses to get up quickly to for a finesse finish on either side of the basket, or just rise right up and power a dunk down - usually over defenders. He also possesses solid footwork down low, as he feels where his defenders are on him, and will make a successful move around them, often with a double-team coming to him. Bagley also has a very nice shooting touch which can extend out to 23-feet roughly, when left open in a half-court set. He also can rebound the ball at a good rate over older defenders, and can lead a fast-break going the other way if need be. Bagley is currently ranked as the Number #1 overall 8th grader in the country by numerous scouting services, and rightfully so. Bagley looks to be a very special type of player in the future and will be the new face of Corona Del Sol HS, as well as Arizona high school basketball in a short time.