Much has been written this offseason about players and coaches departing the Arizona State men’s basketball program.
How about a story on someone coming back?
Marcus Bagley, arguably the Sun Devils’ most complete player when he was healthy last season, withdrew from the NBA Draft, and then subsequently stated he would return to Tempe in two social media posts made Wednesday.
His freshman season was stunted by injuries. Bagley played in only 12 of the team’s 25 contests. But when he was on the court, he showed flashes of the all-around game that made him one of the highest-rated recruits in Sun Devil basketball history. He averaged 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists on 38.7/34.7/71.9 shooting splits.
Bagley is a little smaller than his NBA brother, Marvin Bagley III, but still possesses good size at 6-foot-8, 215. He has the type of fluidity in his movements offensively that is so prevalent in NBA stars of today, but with so little time on the court to refine it last season, an extra year at the collegiate ranks will do him wonders.
He has a textbook shooting stroke and can knock down his share of 3-pointers. There has been a lot of talk within the program about junior forward Jalen Graham expanding his range this offseason. Bagley’s game is already there, and if Graham can indeed hit threes at a consistent rate this winter, that will give this Sun Devil team at least two 3-and-D forwards.
With so many new players on the roster, the main rotation will be in flux until Hurley cracks the right code. Last season, that task took all season, with so many players hurt or affected by illness. But there is no doubt Bagley will be a day one starter, and will carry much of the offensive load in the early going given his familiarity with teammates Graham and Kimani Lawrence and Hurley’s system.
And Sun Devil fans should be excited about the potential of dominant two-man actions between Bagley and his new point guard, Marreon Jackson, a dynamic which can return the team back into Pac-12 contenders.