No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III to reclassify to Class of '17, play at Duke

Bagley reclassifies to 2017, selects Duke (1:08)

Marvin Bagley III, who was the top player in the Class of 2018, will join Duke earlier than expected as a member of the Class of 2017. (1:08)

The biggest news in college basketball has come in August, typically one of the quietest recruiting months of the year.

Marvin Bagley III, the nation's No. 1 high school recruit from the Class of 2018, made his announcement to reclassify up to the Class of 2017 on Monday, which means he will immediately be a freshman in college this season.

Along with his decision to reclassify, Bagley said on SportsCenter that he will play at Duke for Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"I would like to thank Danny Ferry and Coach K for allowing me to wear [Ferry's] retired No. 35 at Duke University," Bagley said as he pulled a blue Duke jersey out of a bag on the SportsCenter set in Los Angeles. Ferry was the 1989 Naismith Award winner who played for the Blue Devils from 1985 through '89.

The Bagley family has roots in Durham, North Carolina, where Duke is located. Marvin's father, Marvin Bagley Jr., was born and raised in Durham and played football at North Carolina A&T.

Bagley III cited "the brotherhood" at Duke for helping sway his decision.

"That's what Coach K preached to me and my family on my visit," Bagley said. "You know, I just had a good feeling there ever since they first offered me a scholarship in ninth grade. I've always liked Duke. It's a special place. And you have to be special to be a part of it. So I'm just blessed. I thank God every day for allowing me to see schools like that and just be in a position to go to a place like that. So I'm very thankful."

Bagley had been contemplating this decision for a long time and began to explore immediate eligibility in recent months. He is now scheduled to graduate from Los Angeles' Sierra Canyon High School in August, after which the NCAA eligibility center will review his final transcript to assess whether he has met all requirements to play at the Division I level.

"Marvin is a special kid," Bagley's father said while appearing alongside him in Los Angeles. "He's fun; you know he's great with his brother. He's a great role model. And it's an honor to say I have a son such as Marvin. He's just a special person -- outside of basketball."

Bagley Jr. said Duke wasn't a decision he made for his son, who recently took official visits to Duke, USC and UCLA.

"It wasn't where I wanted him to go, it's just where Marvin felt comfortable," Bagley Jr. said. "You know, it was an extremely tough decision. Every school had everything lined up perfect. But in a case like this, you just got to go with your heart. And that's where his heart is, at Duke, in the Bull City in Durham."

By choosing Duke, Bagley III joins a six-man freshman class that includes five ESPN top 100 prospects. The addition of Bagley, coupled with the Blue Devils' returning roster, puts them in position to win the ACC regular-season title and makes them a legitimate Final Foul and national championship contender.

Bagley's decision was felt in Las Vegas, too, where the odds at the Westgate SuperBook for Duke winning the national championship improved from 7-1 to 3-1. Kentucky moved down from 7-1 to 8-1, Michigan State moved down from 8-1 to 10-1, and Kansas and Arizona moved down from 10-1 to 12-1.

The last time a No. 1 prospect reclassified up this late was Andre Drummond, who was scheduled to enter college in 2012. He committed to Connecticut in August 2011. He finished the year at UConn, leading the team in field goal percentage, rebounding and blocked shots. He then entered the NBA draft and was selected ninth overall in 2012 by the Detroit Pistons.

Bagley recently participated in the elite Drew Summer League, where he played alongside James Harden and Chris Paul and competed against NBA talent. In the league's All-Star Game, he recorded a double-double by scoring 18 points and grabbing 20 rebounds.

Bagley possesses undeniable talent and untapped potential. Left-handed and 6-foot-11, he demonstrates skill both on the interior and from the outside. He frequently recorded double-doubles and some triple-doubles.

Adding Bagley to a class that already includes scoring savant Michael Porter Jr. and physically imposing big man DeAndre Ayton, as well as newly reclassified No. 24 Jontay Porter (Missouri), makes this a group to rival last year's class that boasted historic one-and-done draft picks.

Bagley will now be the No. 1-ranked player in the Class of 2017 and Duke will boast the No. 1 class. In the past four years, Duke has landed the No. 1 class three times. Bagley is the Blue Devils' third recent No. 1 recruit, following Harry Giles (2016) and Jahlil Okafor (2014).

Prospect Zion Williamson now takes over the top spot in 2018 until the rankings are updated the week of Aug. 21.