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Kentucky Basketball Recruiting: UK still in the running for Marvin Bagley

UK is still contending for “the best high school prospect the game has seen in recent years.”

2017 CIF Southern Section Boys Open Division Championship - Semifinals Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

The recruitment of Marvin Bagley has turned into the storyline of the summer, mostly because the top-ranked recruit in 2018 could be moving up a class.

After it became apparent that Bagley was at least considering a move in the 2017 class, everyone immediately assumed it was happening, mostly because anytime there’s talk of a player reclassifying, it happens.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Bagley is a lock to join a college team for next season. The only thing for certain right now is that Bagley plans to take more visits following his trip to Duke.

Will UK be one of them?

According to’s Corey Evans, UK is still in the running for the elite big man, though the Blue Devils are likely his current leader.

USC, Kentucky and Duke are the likeliest of landing spots for him. This past weekend, Bagley visited Duke for an official visit, and the Blue Devils sit in the lead for him.

Kentucky solidified, once again, the top-ranked class in 2017. They would absolutely love to add someone of Bagley’s caliber to a roster full of premium athlete and versatile wings. However, USC and Duke are the favorites, and the likelihood of the five-star reclassifying into 2017 next month and attending college in the fall gets better by the day.

Bagley currently plans to visit USC and Arizona, but UK could also be one of the five allotted official visits he takes.

Evans also goes on to call Bagley, “the best high school prospect that the game has seen in recent years.” That tells you how big of an addition he would be to whoever lands him in 2017 or ‘18.

For what it’s worth, an Arizona radio station reports that Bagley will stick to the 2018 class and the home-state Wildcats lead for him. Bagley grew up in Arizona and attended Corona del Sol High School in Tempe as a freshman, then Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix as a sophomore. He has since transferred to Sierra Canyon School in California. Staying close to home and playing for Arizona or USC is something Bagley is looking hard at, but venturing out East to play at Duke or UK is also an option.

This would all seem to be a bleak assessment of UK’s chances, but a lot can change if Bagley takes an official visit to Lexington. That would allow John Calipari and his staff to put the full-court press on Bagley, which could help put UK in position to land the No. 1 overall recruit.

That said, UK’s best chance of getting Bagley is probably as a 2018 recruit. The Cats don’t have a big need up front with Nick Richards, PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel and Tai Wynyard able to hold the fort down in the paint.

USC and Arizona are also in good shape in the frontcourt. Duke desperately needs another frontcourt option, which could be why they’re thought to be the favorite. Then again, Bagley is starting for any college in America and probably a couple of NBA teams to boot. His potential is immense. He’ll be a top-two pick in whatever NBA Draft he’s part of and probably go No. 1.

UK has been pretty good at getting guys taken No. 1, though Bagley shouldn’t have much trouble with that wherever he goes.

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