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Marvin Bagley III (Via [WACG])

Marvin Bagley III: Scholarships Awarded to 13-Year-Old Basketball Phenom Raises Concern

13-year-old Marvin Bagley III is not your average middle-schooler. Bagley, who hails from Phoenix, Arizona and attends South Valley Prep, is a superstar sensation for his basketball team playing the power forward position. Weighing 175 pounds, and measuring at a height of 6-foot-8 Bagley has already received scholarships from Division I universities.

Bagley, who will probably grow even more, is the grandson of Arizona State legend Joe Cadwell. Cadwell played with Arizona State during 1961-64, played with the Detroit Pistons and St. Louis Hawks (now Atlanta) of the NBA and later played for the Carolina Cougars/Spirits of St. Louis of the ABA. Cadwell also has his jersey hung in the Wells Fargo Arena rafters.

All things considered, basketball runs in Bagley’s family and his natural gifts and talent has made him able to dominate children half his height but still his age. Children who won’t even hit their growth sprits for the next four years.

According to his current scouting report, Bagley has game:

Marvin is a long, lean prospect with a beautiful shot out to the 3-point line and in. The lefty has a great feel to the game already at a very young age. He dominates inside with an amazing repertoire of moves on the offensive end and is extremely long with his 6’9″ wingspan to grab rebounds or block shots on defense.

He also is a surprisingly good ball handler for his size and could go coast to coast at any moment during the game. One of his best skills right now is his quick explosive jumping ability. He rises to the basket so quickly that he constantly posterizes opponents with his athleticism. The scary thing is probably the fact that he isn’t done growing. He is nationally ranked by many scouting services as the #1 player in 7th grade.

I won’t be surprised if and start writing their own scouting report soon.

He even has his own mixtape out – courtesy of City League Hoops’ Ty Kish–. Yes, he’s only 13 and already has his own game mixtape. Unbelievable. He may be Andrew Wiggins 2.0

While Bagley certainly has skills and could be a phenomenal basketball player, perhaps playing in the NBA one day, it’s completely wrong and utterly insane that he’s receiving scholarships already when he won’t even graduate high school until 2018.

There are three reasons why it’s ridiculous. First off, the scholarships are based on potential only. Second, his self-esteem may be effected, and he may develop an ego (think Allen Iverson). And third, which basically ties in the second one is that it’ll most likely give him no motivation to develop. Let’s start off with potential.

We’ve all been through the rough teenage years. As an adolescent we go through stages on our path of self-discovery. Figuring out what we like and what we don’t like. Some people are fortunate to figure out what they’re destined to be at an early age while others take years. We all have potential to be whatever we want we to be, but it takes time and hard work. As Nas puts it:

 An architect, doctor, maybe an actress
But nothing comes easy, it takes much practice

Bagley hasn’t even attended high school yet and he already most likely knows he wants to be a professional basketball player. However in order for anyone to succeed we all know that we need to put the hard work in. We have to make countless errors, accept failure, appreciate/welcome criticism, and learn from our mistakes in order to flourish in whatever we want to be.

The scholarships he’s receiving already are based on potential alone. Based on the fact that if he puts the work in, lives in the gym shooting buckets, hits the weights and learns from his mistakes, he can blossom and become a legendary professional basketball player just like his grandfather.

That however will take six full years of committing your mind, body and soul to the game of basketball and enduring many hardships along the way.

Will Bagley put in the hard work? Does he want to be the next clutch LeBron James, next fearless Kobe Bryant and/or the next fundamentally advanced Tim Duncan? Only Bagley knows that answer and if the answer is yes he knows what he has to do. Put that work in.

Secondly his self esteem. I’m not a psychologist and don’t plan to be so bear with me.

Crucial parts of adolescent years are trying to understand yourself, who you are, letting your mind grow and letting your personality develop. When Bagley enters high school, his fellow peers will know that he already received several scholarships from prominent universities. Two things could either happen here.

  1. Bagley could take continue to stay humble, let the hype be, become more confident and continue to work hard. Think Derrick Rose for instance.

While the first is ideal, the second isn’t that much.

2.        Bagley could learn to develop a bad ego, not want to work hard at all, distance himself from peers who “aren’t on his level”, become egotistical and let the hype get to him. Think Iverson.

Have you ever heard about Derrick Caracter or Demetrius Walker? Nope? I’m not surprised at all. Here’s some background about them.

Caracter, just like Bagley was offered a scholarship at 14-years-old. He was the first 8th grader to be invited to the Nike Camp in 2008. Caracter was also six-foot-eight just like Bagley. People started comparing him to many legends such as Lakers’ great Shaquille O’Neal.

What happened to Caracter? The hype got to him. He never grew anymore and neither did his work ethic. He stopped trying, which in turn lead to him stop caring about the game.

Rick Pitino, who just lead his Louisville Cardinals to become the national champions, said this quote regarding Caracter:

            “Anybody who doesn’t understand how to work — that working is what they must do to reach their potential — is going to fall short of their goals,” Louisville’s Rick Pitino said late Sunday by phone. “Derrick never realized that. He’s a smart kid, a bright young man. But Derrick has fooled himself in terms of how much work it takes to be a pro. When he stopped growing and everybody caught up, it became about whoever is the toughest and whoever works the hardest, and that’s what he never got used to doing. Derrick could never outwork someone to survive.”

Caracter thought he already made it. Thought that just because he was awarded a scholarship at such a young age that he could easily cruise through college and go straight in the NBA. That wasn’t the case.

Walker was another example of failed potential. At 14-years-old, Walker was considered to be the best eighth grader in the nation. Sports Illustrated even wrote an article saying Demetrius Walker could be the next LeBron James.

Walker lost work ethic due to the hype and his fall from superstardom wasn’t pleasant. Walker was supposed to be a superstar sensation but never grew taller and seemed to stop caring at all about the game.

Both Walker and Caracter thought their life was set with the scholarships and the glory they’ve been receiving. They never put the hardwork and countless hours in the gym. What happened to them was unfortunate.

It’s not just basketball. It happens in all sports.

Current head coach of the South California Trojans’ football team, Lane Kriffin, made headlines back in 2010 when he offered 13-year-old David Sills a scholarship. 

I among others are against publicizing, hyping up and recruiting players who still have middle school to attend. Though they have the size and athleticism of full grown adults, they’re still children at the end of the day.

These young, gifted and talent stars think they made it because somebody put video highlight reels of them on Youtube, have a reporter interview them or have a letter received from a Pac-12 program sent to them.

So what motivation is there for them to continue to strive and be better when the spotlight is already on them? Why does a child need to learn to develop a post game or shoot and dribble when they can just drive past defenders and dunk with ease thanks to their height?

It makes children think they don’t need to put in more work when the exact opposite should be said.

Giving scholarships to middle schoolers based on potential is bad. It dosen’t give them time to work and makes them feel like their dreams are given to them already. As well the coaches most likely won’t be coaching the same schools in the six-eight years it takes for the middle schooler to finally go off to college. Also, losing a desire to be the best, losing that hunger for more, to accomplish your wildest dreams and become the best in whatever you want to be can easily be lost when everything’s basically given to you.

Fortunately for Bagley, it looks like he’s willing to put the work in. In an interview with Basketball Spotlight, Bagley gave some mature, thoughtful answers to some questions.

BS: Who’s your favorite player and why?
MB3: It’s hard to choose just one favorite player because I like so many. If I had to narrow it down, my two favorites would be Kevin Durant & Blake Griffin. I like Kevin Durant because he can score in so many ways, and Blake Griffin because he’s an unbelievable dunker.

BS: If you could have dinner with one person, who would you select and why?
MB3: I would want to have dinner with Michael Jordan, because he’s the best ever and I would love to hear advice from him directly to me about how I could become the best ever.

Bagley continued to say his best quality is “work ethic” and his worst is “I expect too much from myself.” Sounds about every elite basketball player. The only difference is that he’s 13.

Hopefully Bagley continues to put the work in. It’ll be unfortunate if he wasted his talents and skills. That dosen’t look like a problem not problem for him because he has a strong, support system around him. Has people telling him that he has a promising future and could make that dream into a reality, if he puts the work in.


Tags: Allen Iverson Arizona State Sun Devils Lebron James Shaquille O'Neal

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