Marvin Bagley would be a season-changing addition for Duke, USC or UCLA

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Marvin Bagley, who may be the best basketball prospect that is not currently on an NBA roster, will be announcing where he will play his college basketball on Monday night.

We detailed the particulars of that decision last night — it will likely be as a member of the Class of 2017, it’s so he can get into the 2018 NBA Draft, whether or not he’s eligible to play immediately at the college level this year is not the most important part of this decision.

Here, we’re going to talk impact.

What will Bagley’s commitment mean for the three schools* still in the mix?

*(At this point it does not appear that Arizona is still in the mix for the Arizona-native. Bagley only visited Duke, USC and UCLA this past month, Arizona doesn’t have a scholarship available and the program is currently in Spain for their team trip. If he does shock the world and pick the Wildcats, they will quite clearly be the preseason No. 1 team in the country. Bagley and Deandre Ayton could end up being the top two picks in June.)

Marvin Bagley III (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

DUKE

With Bagley in the mix, Duke — who are, as of this posting, my pick to land the 6-foot-11 forward — would have a very strong case to be slotted as the preseason No. 1 team in the country. Given the way that last season went, that may not go over all that well, but there’s a valid argument: The Blue Devils would start three freshmen — Bagley, Trevon Duval and Wendell Carter — that are top seven prospects in the class, according to 247 Sports composite rankings, and another who would be the No. 17 player in the class in Gary Trent Jr. They finally have a point guard to replace Tyus Jones in the for of Duval. Grayson Allen, the lone returnee from last year’s team, is finally healthy, according to Mike Krzyzewski, and on paper is a veteran leader and an all-american caliber player.

Youth would be a major issue, as Allen would likely be the only rotation player that is an upperclassmen. Depth is going to be another problem as well, as Duke’s reserves will likely be made up of some combination of freshmen Alex O’Connell and Jordan Tucker and sophomore Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier.

But the talent there in undeniable, and unlike last season, the pieces actually fit together. Duval is a playmaker at the point, although he has a reputation for being more of an attacker than a ‘pure point guard’, while Trent and Allen are scorers with three-point range on the wing. Carter, who many believe to be the second-coming of Al Horford, should be able to handle his own on the block.

Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

And then there’s Bagley, who is the ideal for what Duke is looking for at the four spot. He’s big enough that he can defend as a four — or even a five — but he’s skilled enough to play on the perimeter in four-around-one lineups. The Blue Devils don’t currently have a guy that can fill that Jayson Tatum, Jabari Parker, Justise Winslow, Brandon Ingram role, and Bagley might be better suited to do it than any of them.

At the very least he should being the most on the defensive end.

Which is why I think his arrival at Duke would make the Blue Devils a real national title contender, if not the favorite to win the whole thing.

USC

Imagine if the Trojans are able to land Bagley over Duke and UCLA. Andy Enfield beating out Coach K and Steve Alford for a recruit, particularly a recruit from the West Coast that played in Southern California last high school season?

That would be a helluva statement to make.

It would also put USC firmly in the mix as the nation’s preseason No. 1 team. They’re already loaded, particularly in the front court. Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu both returned to school for their junior seasons, and with the addition of Bagley, one of those three would be relegated to coming off of the bench. My guess is that it would be Metu simply because of the style that USC plays. They want to run the floor, they want to space the court, they want to fire up threes and score points in a hurry, and I think that Bagley’s ability to replace the rebounding that rim protection that Metu provides is better than his ability to provide the pure shooting ability of Boatwright.

Andy Enfield (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Regardless, that front court, which is already one of the best in the country, would likely become the best with the addition of Bagley.

And when the Trojans already have a perimeter attack that includes veterans Jordan McLaughlin, Elijah Stewart and Derryck Thornton along with De’Anthony Melton, Jonah Mathews and Shaqquan Aaron, you’re looking at an absolutely loaded roster that perfectly fits the way Enfield wants to play.

UCLA

The Bruins are the interesting case here.

For starters, they are an Under Armour school, and Bagley has played on the Nike circuit the last two years. That’s not a deal breaker, but the presence of LaVar Ball in and around that program, particularly with the one son (LiAngelo) every is already concerned about on the roster, it makes that landing spot seem somewhat unlikely.

But if Steve Alford does find a way to convince the Bagleys that UCLA is the best place for Marvin., he would be a season-changing recruit. UCLA already has a loaded perimeter attack. Jaylen Hands is one of the best point guards in the Class of 2017 even though he may not even be the best point guard on UCLA’s roster for this season; that title likely belongs to the ever-underrated Aaron Holiday. Throw in Kris Wilkes, Chris Smith, Prince Ali and Ball, and there are a ton of guard options here.

What they lack, however, is a proven four, someone who can play the role that T.J. Leaf played last season. Bagley can, and at a much higher level. That may be hard for someone like Cody Riley or G.G. Goloman to swallow, but Bagley’s skill alongside the ability of Thomas Welsh to pull defenders away from the rim is enticing.

UCLA is currently a top 20 team entering the season. With Bagley, they probably enter the top ten with a real shot of winning the Pac-12.

Steve Alford (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.

UConn’s Tyrese Martin granted waiver to play this season

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn swingman Tyrese Martin, who transferred from Rhode Island in April, has been granted a waiver that will allow him to play for the Huskies this season.

The 6-foot-6 junior averaged 12.8 points and 7.1 rebounds and started every game last season for URI, where he was recruited by current UConn coach Dan Hurley.

NCAA rules require undergraduate transfers to sit out a season, but the organization has been more lenient in granting waivers during the pandemic.

Martin, 21, is expected to compete for playing time at UConn on the wing as both a guard and small forward.