Marcus Bagley roared into the regional basketball scene a year ago, a high-profile recruit from a high-profile family of ballers.
These things just don’t happen in Sacramento.
Bagley was heaven-sent to Sheldon High School. The 6-foot-8 guard/wing arrived with his family, the tallest being older brother Marvin Bagley III, the Kings top draft pick in 2018. Bagley is on a similar path of basketball big-stage ascent, answering the call of expectations at every turn.
On Monday, Bagley announced he would sign a national letter of intent later this fall with Arizona State, coached by 1993 Kings first-round pick Bobby Hurley, an alum of Duke, where Bagley III was a star forward.
Bagley had narrowed his college choices down to Arizona, Arizona State and Cal, all of the Pac-12 Conference.
The Arizona schools made sense. Bagley is a native of the state. His grandfather, Joe Caldwell, was a prolific scorer who led Arizona State to three NCAA tournaments (1962-64).
Cal made sense because of proximity. The chance to play close to family was appealing. Bagley was a regular at Kings games, and Bagley III was a regular to Sheldon games and summer basketball tournaments.
Bagley will start his senior year at Sheldon next month, where the goal is to get the two-time defending CIF Open Division Northern California champions back to the state finals at Golden 1 Center.
Bagley was the Bee’s co-Player of the Year last season with teammate Justin Nguyen, now at UC Merced. Bagley averaged 19.9 points and 7.9 rebounds for the Huskies as a junior.
Projecting Bagley beyond this season would be subjective, but we do know this: He is as good of a player and prospect that this area has experienced in decades, certainly in my 31 years at The Bee.
Bagley has to be lumped into the same list of regional players who seemed destined to the NBA as high schoolers from what we have observed since 1988 – and made it: Ryan Anderson of Oak Ridge, Matt Barnes of Del Campo, Marquese Chriss of Pleasant Grove, Rich Manning of Center, DeMarcus Nelson of Sheldon, Yogi Stewart of Kennedy and D.J. Wilson of Capital Christian.
Bagley can handle the ball, shoot it, dribble, drive, distribute and dunk. He takes his craft seriously, is considered a good teammate by teammates and coaches and was a superb student last year.
He is the same size as Barnes was when Barnes terrorized teams at Del Campo as a guard before heading to UCLA, only Bagley is a better shooter and passer. Bagley is shorter than the 6-10 Anderson, who went to Cal, but is more athletic and a better rebounder.
Chriss, Eakins, Manning, Stewart and Wilson each stand close to 7-feet, with Chriss and Wilson still in the NBA. Nelson was a terrific scorer and playmaker at Sheldon and Duke, but Bagley is taller and stronger.
Manning is a longtime assistant coach at Sheldon. He told me last season that Bagley, “can be as great of a player as this area’s ever produced. He does it all and he cares.”
Bagley is indeed a fun watch and follow, whose flair equals the fundamental part of his game.
Of recent players, we’d surely have Bagley in this lineup with this group:
Guard: Jordan Ford – two-time Bee Player of the Year and four-year starter at Folsom has had a stellar career at Saint Mary’s.
Guard: D’Erryl Williams – A four-year starter at Sheldon and one-time Bee Player of the Year, Williams wowed San Diego State teammates with his academic prowess.
Forward: D.J. Wilson – A late bloomer and then suddenly the best player in Capital Christian history, Wilson became a first-round pick after a good run at Michigan.
Forward: Solomon Young – A four-year starter and a Bee Player of the Year honoree at Sacramento, Young’s rebounding and defense has made him a star at Iowa State.
Center: Jordan Brown – The former Bee Player of the Year leader who powered Woodcreek to record success, Brown has transferred from Nevada to Arizona.