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ESPN elevates ASU’s Bagley over Christopher in NBA Draft rankings

Arizona State forward Marcus Bagley (23) drives against Houston Baptist guard Pedro Castro during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona State men’s basketball can count itself lucky that forward Marcus Bagley avoided serious damage in his injury against Cal, because ESPN thinks he may be the Sun Devil with the most NBA potential.

ESPN’s 2021 NBA Draft rankings, which are led by Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz, moved Bagley up to the No. 16 spot, elevating him ahead of teammate Josh Christopher, who is at No. 18.

Through four games, Bagley has stretch-four ability and a good 3-point shot. He is averaging 13 points, which includes a 21-point outing against Houston Baptist, a team-high 5.8 rebounds and is shooting 40% from deep.

Bagley suffered a mild calf sprain against Cal on Dec. 3, and is considered day-to-day. He missed the game against San Diego on Thursday and Grand Canyon on Sunday.

The other star ASU freshman, Christopher, was rated higher as a recruit coming out of high school. Over his first six games with the Sun Devils, he has shown his athleticism and ability to finish difficult shots at the rim, averaging 15.6 points while shooting 60% from inside the arc.

The only other Sun Devil on the ESPN Draft rankings is guard Remy Martin. The senior is listed at No. 93.

The last ASU player to be taken in the NBA Draft was Carrick Felix in 2013. He was selected No. 33 by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

No Sun Devil has been taken in the first round since James Harden went No. 3 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009.

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