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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

College Basketball

Danny Ferry explains decision to let Duke unretire his No. 35 jersey for Marvin Bagley

Marvin Bagley

After nearly three decades of hanging in the rafters at Duke, Danny Ferry’s No. 35 jersey is coming out of retirement for star freshman Marvin Bagley III. Now Ferry is explaining why he offered his blessing.

In an interview with Hank Tucker of Duke’s student newspaper The Chronicle earlier this week, Ferry opened up about his decision to allow the jersey to come down for Bagley, who wore the number in high school.

“[Associate head coach] Jeff Capel and I had talked about it a while ago, at which time I offered and said I was totally fine with it at some point if they needed to use one of the retired jerseys,” said Ferry. “I’m very proud my jersey will still be hanging in Cameron, but I’m most attached to what is best for Duke and the basketball program.

“Speaking pragmatically, with so many retired jerseys and the great tradition that hopefully continues, this was going to be an issue going forward for the school at some level,” Ferry continued. “For it being a high-quality player and a high-character kid, it certainly makes decisions like this easy.”

Ferry, who went to a lengthy NBA career and a three-year stint as Atlanta Hawks GM, was one of the more storied players in Duke basketball history. A four-year guy, Ferry was a two-time ACC Player of the Year and a two-time All-American selection as well as Naismith College Player of the Year in 1989.

Tucker notes that the Blue Devils have retired 13 jersey numbers in the history of the program, but this is the first time ever that a number has been brought out of retirement. Nevertheless, with how drastically Bagley’s commitment has improved Duke’s title odds, it makes sense for him to be the trailblazer.

Duke’s odds to win title skyrocket after Bagley commitment

Coach K hair

If you’re a sports bettor, hopefully you got your money in on Duke to win the 2018 national championship prior to Monday, because the price just went up.

High school star Marvin Bagley III announced on Monday night that he was reclassifying to the class of 2017 and that he would play for Duke.

In response to the news, one Las Vegas sportsbook instantly made the Blue Devils 3:1 favorites to win the title, a spike from where they began in April at 12:1.

Bagley, who played last season at Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, Calif., is viewed as the No. 1 recruit in this year’s class, and a strong contender to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Some believe the 6-foot-11 forward may be the most valuable player coming out of high school since LeBron James.

Bagley’s reclassification still needs to be approved by the NCAA. If the move is approved, Duke will end up with a good shot at winning their second championship in four years.

Marvin Bagley III commits to Duke as class of 2017

Marvin Bagley

Duke just landed a major recruit — perhaps the biggest recruit of all.

Marvin Bagley III, a high school standout from the Los Angeles-area, announced on Monday night that he has committed to Duke as a 2017 recruit.

Bagley, 18, reclassified for the class of 2017, which would make him an incoming freshman this year. He is waiting on NCAA approval for the move.

Bagley is from Tempe, Ariz., and played his first two high school seasons in his home state. However, he then transferred to Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth (Calif.) but was ruled ineligible to play as a junior due to transfer rules. He did play as a senior, averaging 24.6 points and 10.1 points per game.

Bagley is viewed as the No. 1 recruit in the 2017 class. He participated in the Los Angeles-based Drew League and dominated this summer, teaming with James Harden. If he does get classified for 2017 and enters the draft next year, he very well could be the top overall pick.

Duke was among many schools recruiting Bagley. The 6-foot-11 forward also visited USC, UCLA and Arizona.

Steve Alford not worried about LaVar Ball meddling with UCLA team

Steve Alford UCLA

LaVar Ball may be extremely outspoken and controlling with his sons, but those ways may not extend to the UCLA basketball team. At least Steve Alford is not worried about that.

Alford told the Los Angeles Times’ Ben Bolch that he does not see Ball’s potential meddling as an issue.

Alford has been working with the Ball family for a while. His UCLA Bruins had Lonzo Ball last year, they will be getting LiAngelo this year, and then LaMelo arrives in two years. If Alford wants his program to be helped by the talents the Balls bring, he has to deal with LaVar. So far he has done that well. And maybe LaVar is much better being hands-off when it comes to UCLA rather than displaying the same antics he shows as an AAU coach.

Coach K needs knee surgery, Duke to cancel trip to Dominican Republic

Coach K hair

Duke basketball is having a change of plans due to the health of their coach.

Legendary Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced in a video on Thursday that he’ll be undergoing knee replacement surgery and that the team will thus be cancelling a planned exhibition trip to the Dominican Republic.

The 70-year-old Krzyzewski also missed a bit of time last season after having surgery on his back. Rob Dauster of NBC Sports notes that this latest procedure will be Krzyzewski’s sixth in the last 16 months.

The Blue Devils are coming off an up-and-down 2016-17 campaign where they finished fifth in the ACC and lost in the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32. They will be running it back this season with another top recruiting class in tow, but the health of their head coach is obviously the No. 1 priority.

Michael Porter Jr.’s brother Jontay reclassifies to play at Missouri this year

Michael Porter Jr Jontay

The Missouri Tigers are going to be a problem next season, folks.

After going 8-24 last season, the Tigers fired Kim Anderson and hired Cuonzo Martin as their new head coach. Cuonzo hired Michael Porter Sr. away from Washington to join his staff. Porter brought his son, Michael Jr., who is expected to be a top pick in next year’s draft. And guess what? Michael Sr.’s son Jontay is reclassifying to play with Michael Jr. at Missouri this season.

“This is going to be a special year for Mizzou basketball, and I couldn’t pass up on this opportunity to be a part of it,” Jontay Porter told ESPN on Wednesday. “Playing with Michael was definitely one of the most attractive things about reclassifying. Every team we’ve played on together has had major success, so hopefully that trend continues.”

In addition to the Porter brothers, Missouri brings back Jordan Barnett, Kevin Puryear and Terrence Phillips from last year’s squad. They also have other top recruits, such as Jeremiah Tilmon and Blake Harris.

Expect the Tigers to contend in the SEC next season.

Report: JaQuan Lyle transferring from Ohio State to New Mexico

JaQuan Lyle

New Mexico appears to have picked up a big transfer this offseason.

Reports say that former Ohio State guard JaQuan Lyle is transferring to Albuquerque.

Lyle was a top recruit entering his career at Ohio State. The guard averaged 11.4 points, 4.6 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. He also improved his field goal percentage from 39.7 percent as a freshman to 45.8 percent.

Lyle left the Buckeyes following an arrest in May. He should be a difference-maker for the Lobos.

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