Marvin Bagley III’s reign as most exciting Duke freshman in history only lasted one year, thanks to Zion Williamson, but that shouldn’t diminish Bagley’s accomplishments during his season with the Blue Devils.
Bagley reclassified as a high schooler, bypassing his senior year to enter college early, a week after finishing up his high school work.
Bagley joined a Duke freshman class that also included point guard Trevon Duval, shooter Gary Trent Jr. and big man Wendell Carter Jr. as well as current Blue Devils Alex O’Connell and Jordan Goldwire. In addition to his late addition to the class, Bagley earned special attention from his uniform number, after Duke and former All American Danny Ferry agreed to take Ferry’s No. 35, retired years earlier, out of the rafters to let Bagley wear it.
Bagley proved up to the hype. He won the Naismith Award as the top player in college—Ferry was the first Blue Devil to win it—becoming the first Duke player in 12 years to take home the trophy. Bagley also won the Tisdale Award as the nation’s top freshman, as well as ACC Player of the Year. He became the second player in ACC history to win Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in the same season and was just the third player to lead the league in scoring, rebounding and shooting percentage in the same year.
Bagley still holds the school’s single-season record for dunks and the freshman season and single-game rebounding marks. His 22 double-doubles are a Duke freshman high as are his seven 30-point games and eight 15-rebound games. He went on to be drafted second overall in the NBA Draft.