Duke’s Marvin Bagley III talks about loss, his teammates and the future
When the buzzer sounded and it hit him that Kansas had won, Marvin Bagley III bent over and rested his hands on his knees.
He stayed there for a few seconds until teammate Gary Trent Jr. came to pick him up. Together they walked back to the handshake line. Their eyes stared into space.
The Blue Devils had lost 85-81 in overtime to the Jayhawks in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
Duke's season was over. And for Bagley, his career as a Blue Devil is likely over, too.
"You never want to lose, especially with this team," Bagley said. "We've got a lot of competitors on this team and this feeling is not the best feeling."
Bagley, the freshman forward, is expected to be a one-and-done player and is projected to be a top-three pick in the NBA draft in June.
He shattered numerous records at Duke and won multiple awards. In Friday's Sweet 16 win over Syracuse, Bagley became Duke's all-time freshman scoring leader. But it didn't really matter, the goal was to win a national championship , and establish a legacy.
That didn't happen, though.
And as soon as Bagley got to the locker room after the Kansas loss, shock and the handshakes, the questions came.
"I'm not even trying to think about that right now," Bagley said when asked whether he knew if he'd leave for the NBA. "I'm just thinking about what happened tonight."
Bagley, who Kansas double - and triple-teamed much of the game, finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Bagley came to Duke near the end of last summer as a late addition to the 2017 class. He had reclassified from the Class of 2018 before signing with the Blue Devils.
He immediately excelled.
In his one season at Duke, he averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds, leading the ACC in both categories. He won ACC Player and Rookie of the Year, only the second player to achieve that.
He is a first-team All-America by Sporting News, NABC and USBWA, and is a finalist for the Wooden, Naismith and Malone awards. But the award he wanted the most, a championship, he didn't get.
"I just thank everybody, man, for just allowing me to be myself and just to be a part of something so special," Bagley said. "And, like I said before, it hurts that we couldn't go further than what we did. But I'm still proud of what we did this year and just gotta keep our heads up."
Whether his fellow freshmen teammates will leave and enter the draft is a question too. Freshmen guards Trent and Trevon Duval and forward Wendell Carter Jr. all said Sunday they were unsure about whether they'd turn pro.
Duval and Carter said at this point, without a championship, both felt like returning to Duke.
Duke has the No. 1 recruiting class again next year with Zion Williamson, Tre Jones, Cam Reddish and R.J. Barrett, and those four players are expected to replace the four freshmen who are expected to leave.
The current group had talked about their goal of winning a national title, because they knew it would be their last ride together and the didn't want it to end. Had they lost, there would be nothing to show for it.
And there wasn't.
"You know, they've gotten better throughout, and they played winning basketball today," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "And I feel badly for them because I thought they were deserving of winning, too."