DeAndre Ayton has long been considered the top basketball prospect in the Class of 2017. Marvin Bagley III is right behind him in the Class of 2018. Unlike the three-way battle for 2016 honors, there isn’t much debate that this pair is the best their age group has to offer.
That’s what made Thursday’s matchup between California Supreme, the Nike EYBL squad starring Ayton, Phoenix Phamily, Bagley’s crew, at the 2016 Peach Jam so fascinating. It was a rare, mano-a-mano matchup between the nation’s highest profile prospects, facing off at the same position in a game where only one could emerge as the winner.
In the end, Ayton won out on both the scoreboard and the stat sheet; Cal Supreme earned a 74-60 victory and the 7-footer led the way, scoring 23 points, 18 rebounds and 5 blocks. That is one impressive line for a performance at a national event like Peach Jam. Yet Bagley also showed that he’s already able to compete against the best, more than holding his own in a 15-point, 7-rebound game which showcased what he is — a dynamic and versatile athlete with a 6-foot-10 body and a guard’s quickness — and what he could still become.
You can check out a cross section of the game’s highlights from the two big men below.
The matchup was also critical to prove that Bagley never missed a step when forced to sit out his junior season after leaving Hillcrest Academy for Sierra Canyon in California.
It’s still far too early to bank on which of this pair will prove to be the most talented at the collegiate and professional level. What is safe to say is that they’ll both be heard from when they get there.