Back in January when Michael Porter Jr. took over the No. 1 spot in the ESPN 100 for 2017, he said that, while it was an honor to be considered top dog, he knew keeping said status would be an even taller order.
“It is harder to stay at the top than get to the top,” Porter told USA TODAY Sports back in January.
That statement was never truer than it was Monday night when Marvin Bagley III announced his commitment to Duke and reclassification from 2018 to 2017.
Immediately, Bagley bumped Porter to the No. 2 spot in ESPN’s final rankings.
That begs an obvious question: Which player do you consider No. 1 in the 2017 class?
ESPN basketball recruiting director Paul Biancardi called Bagley as a “once in a generation” talent and his resume and skill-set certainly support the claim.
Last season, Bagley was named to the American Family Insurance ALL-USA first team after averaging 24.9 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks and leading Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) to a 27-3 record. This summer he was a man amongst boys on the Nike EYBL, widely regarded as the most grueling summer circuit of them all, posting 25.8 points, 14.9 rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 1.7 assists per game.
He ended the summer by dominating current and former NBA players in Los Angeles’ famed Pro Am Drew League.
Bagley is 6-foot-11 point-forward with a 7-0 wingspan and an 8-9 standing reach. He’s more polished than Porter in the post and he also serves as a better rim protector.
Porter is also a 6-10 point-forward with a 7-0 wingspan and a 9-0 standing reach with elite athleticism.
Porter’s ascension to the top was due in large part to his dominant play on the EYBL last summer, averaging 22.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. He was even more dominant leading Mokan Elite (Mo.) to the Peach Jam title averaging 26.4 points and 11.4 rebounds a game, including 33 points in the championship game.
Last season at Nathan Hale (Seattle) he was named ALL-USA Player of the Year after leading the Patriots to a 3A state title and 29-0 record. Porter averaged 36.4 points and 13.5 rebounds a game during that run.
The last time Porter and Bagley met up was in December at the Les Schwab Invitational; Porter posted 27 points and 15 rebounds in a 67-65 win, and Bagley had 22 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.
Most reputable NBA Draft sited project Bagley as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft and Porter to follow at No. 2.
But, again, we pose the question: Porter or Bagley, which player do you consider No. 1 in the 2017 class?
Watch Porter and Bagley battle below, courtesy of BallIsLife.com:
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY