Following a rocky three seasons with Arizona State, forward Marcus Bagley has decided to keep his name in the 2023 NBA Draft with tomorrow’s opt-out deadline approaching, as reported by CBS college basketball insider Jon Rothstein.
Former #ArizonaState star Marcus Bagley to stay in the NBA Draft. Only appeared in first two games of last season after off-the-court drama. Very talented player, but hard to see him getting drafted after only playing in a combined five games the last two seasons. #ForksUp https://t.co/NWhXDLSqCu
— Burn City Sports (@BurnCitySports) May 30, 2023
Bagley was a top-30 recruit coming out of high school in 2020. He also declared for the 2021 NBA Draft after his freshman year when he started 11 of the 12 games he played in, averaging 10.8 points and 6.2 rebounds. He ended up coming back to ASU, as he loved Tempe and Bobby Hurley’s system. He looked to improve his stock and solidify his legacy at the school where his grandfather, “Jumpin'” Joe Caldwell, starred.
Bagley scored 12 and 18 points in the team’s first two games of the 2021-22 season, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game.
He entered the past season in a prime position to improve his draft stock and star for the Sun Devils, as he was named to the 2022-23 Pac-12 Preseason All-Conference Second Team. He told the media before this season that it would be a “blank start” for him.
“I just want to be consistently available,” he said. “I want to be an everyday guy. Every practice, every game, I want to be available.”
.@SunDevilHoops returns to action Monday, and so does star forward @bagleymarcus23, who wants to be an “everyday guy,” after only playing in the first three games of last season.
— Cronkite News: Phoenix Sports (@sportscronkite) November 7, 2022
That did not end up happening. Bagley performed okay in the first two games, averaging 12.5 points and four rebounds on 32% shooting. He was reportedly injured in the second game against NAU and missed the team’s three-game road trip following the game. He dressed and warmed up with the team the next home game, but did not play.
Just under an hour until tip-off between @SunDevilHoops (4-1) and @gmensbasketball (2-1). Marcus Bagley (hip pointer) warming up with the Sun Devils after missing the last three games during the team’s road trip this past week. @sportscronkite #ASUMBB pic.twitter.com/sFfFahXHD2
— Brendan Mau (@brendan_mau) November 23, 2022
The day after the game, he sent out a tweet that said, “I’m 1000% healthy.”
Just a few days later he tweeted that he “made a mistake (after the NAU game) and said some things to Coach Hurley that I shouldn’t have said. Me not playing is 100% punishment for what I said that day.”
Hurley went on Arizona Sports 98.7 two days later and discussed Bagley’s comments. He said he had not spoken with him yet, as the Sun Devils had been off of practice. However, he added that planned to speak with Bagley soon and that he was completely healthy.
Hurley did not end up mentioning the full extent as to why Bagley wasn’t playing, instead alluding to the fact that the Sun Devils had a lot of depth on the wings.
“I think it’s a by-product of other guys playing well and just not having the opportunity to get him out on the floor,” Hurley said. “That’s all it comes down to. … We have a stacked perimeter and right now there’s just no minutes for him.”
Bagley then fired off two more tweets the night that Hurley spoke on the radio, the first saying that he was suspended for the tweet. Then, he tweeted, “ATHLETES please please please make a well thought through decision where you go to school. These people will tell you anything to build you up just to tear you down.”
Arizona State's Marcus Bagley explaining why he hasn't been playing then setting the building on fire. pic.twitter.com/wDPeY10DYm
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) November 29, 2022
Bagley deleted his Twitter account shortly after and hasn’t used it since. He took a leave of absence from the team and never re-joined them
The Sun Devils ultimately ended up performing well without Bagley, as they still made the NCAA tournament and Desmond Cambridge Jr. took Bagley’s starting spot and ultimately became the team’s leading scorer. There was almost no mention of Bagley’s situation as the season went on because of how well ASU’s season panned out.
Despite no formal announcement, when the list of NBA Draft early entrants came out on April 25, Bagley was one of two Sun Devils mentioned alongside Frankie Collins, who recently withdrew his name and returned to ASU.
The Atlanta Hawks are the only reported team that Bagley, who was not invited to the NBA Draft combine, has worked out for so far.
Pre-Draft workouts continue today! Here's who is working out:
Marcus Bagley (Arizona State)
Mike Bothwell (Furman)
Tyger Campbell (UCLA)
Matthew Murrell (Ole Miss)
Norchad Omier (Miami)
Jake Stephens (Chattanooga) pic.twitter.com/tvp2DEov4r
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 9, 2023
Bagley certainly has the talent to play well at a high level, as he is listed at 6-foot-8 and 217 pounds, and he can score on all three levels. He is an above-average defender and rebounder, as well as a capable playmaker. He has all the tools to succeed in terms of talent, but his injury and behavior concerns will likely deter teams from selecting him.
If he does get a shot in the NBA, he will play alongside or against his brother Marvin Bagley, the former No. 2 overall pick and current Detroit Piston.
There was almost no chance of Bagley coming back to Arizona State, but he now is the only remaining Sun Devil in the draft, as he hopes to see his NBA dreams come true.