On Marvin Bagley III’s first day of first grade, his father, Marvin Bagley Jr, was dropping his eldest son off at school when he came to a realization: His boy was taller than all the other kids. A lot taller. “Head and shoulders above everyone else,” Bagley Jr says. “It was like, Wow, he might be really tall.” That’s when Bagley Jr decided that Bagley III should probably get involved with sports—Junior had played college football at North Carolina A&T and then in the Arena Football League—and basketball made sense, for obvious reasons. “It takes height, sometimes,” Bagley Jr says. “It’s a good first step.” The second step tends to be talent, and Bagley III had plenty of that, too. He kept growing—he never stopped being the tallest kid in his class—and he quickly accumulated skills to match the height. Those skills eventually earned him a scholarship to Duke University, where he’ll be the star of the most stacked NCAA roster in the nation this fall. The team also features top recruits Trevon Duval, Wendell Carter Jr and Gary Trent Jr, along with senior Grayson Allen. Bagley III is set to be either the best or second best player in the country, depending on your opinion of Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr, and is a lock to be a top 5 NBA draft pick in June of 2018. “There’s a lot of eyes on me now,” Bagley III says minutes after wrapping up his first SLAM cover shoot at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium the morning of his freshman move-in day. “It’s exciting. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of—going to college and playing college basketball, being able to do what I love to do.” Growing up, Bagley III never struggled to control the post, grab rebounds and generally just toss around smaller opponents. But Bagley Jr wanted his son to learn the entirety of the game, be it dribbling the ball up the floor or making the right pass. This became a bit of a source of contention for those who dealt with the family over the years, with countless coaches wanting to ride Bagley III to tournament wins by throwing him under the basket and dominating the competition, while Bagley Jr preferred his son develop a well-rounded style of play. “Some teams held me back, and that’s when my parents came in and we moved to a lot of different teams,” Bagley III says. “I can’t count how many teams I’ve been on.” “In the beginning, we played for a lot of programs that played for trophies,” Bagley Jr says. “At a young age, you have to be aware about developing the kid. We left a lot of teams because that development wasn’t there.”