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Freshman Marcus Bagley ready to show versatility on court for ASU

CHATSWORTH, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 04: Marcus Bagley (R) attends the Sierra Canyon vs Mayfair game on January 04, 2019 in Chatsworth, California. (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)

Arizona State freshman Marcus Bagley has a chip on his shoulder that he’s using as motivation heading into the Sun Devils’ season opener.

The four-star recruit addressed that and more during a call with reporters on Thursday.

For Bagley, who is the grandson of ASU great “Jumping” Joe Caldwell, finding extra motivation from having himself and his team overlooked is a natural part of competition.

The key for Bagley is to ensure that the desire to trump preseason expectations doesn’t interfere with his ongoing quest to improve in all facets of the game.

“There’s definitely a chip on my shoulder, because I feel like any competitive person — if anybody is saying that people are better than you, then you have to feel some type of way about it,” Bagley said.

“But at the same time, I’m not focused on how many stars are next to my name or what ranking I have. I’m really just focused on getting better as a person and as a team every day.”

The freshman said that preseason accolades are nice but that they don’t mean much if ASU stumbles when the season tips off.

“There’s definitely a chip there but at the same time I’m worried about winning games with these guys and the rest will take care of itself,” Bagley said.

The 6-foot-7 forward also addressed his shooting prowess and the players he likens his game to.

Bagley is a prolific shooter, making 54% of his field goals during his final two high school seasons at Sacramento’s Sheldon High School.

He also converted 34% of his three-point attempts during the same stretch, enabling him to go from averaging 19.9 to 22.0 points per game in his final two high school seasons.

Bagley discussed being labelled as a sharpshooter while he competed on the AAU level in Arizona growing up.

He said that many recognized him because of his ability to shoot the ball, which was the end result of the hours that he spent putting up shots during his formative years.

“I shoot a lot before and after practice but that’s not something that I started doing in college,” he said.

“I’ve been doing it since high school, middle school. I put up a lot reps and I take pride in that, and hopefully when the lights come on it’ll show.”

Bagley wouldn’t say who his game compares to but said his combination of height, shooting and defensive awareness are similar to the big guard evolution in the NBA.

“I watch guys and I try to take little things from their game and implement it into my own,” Bagley said. “I want to fit into that big guard part of the game — Paul George, Kawhi Leonard — that part of the game.

“So right now, I’m working on my versatility to play multiple positions and that’s about it.”

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