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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Recruiting: UK targets earn high praise from college coaches

Marvin Bagley, RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson are being considered as some of the best key prospects.

FloSports: FloHoops Spalding Hoophall Classic Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

With all the great talent coming into college basketball over the next couple seasons, it’s interesting to see which players are best in specific areas in the eyes of college coaches.

Thanks to some recent work by Evan Daniels of Scout, we get to see who some college coaches voted as the best overall prospect, the best scorer and the best player to build around.

The best overall prospect is no surprise, it’s Marvin Bagley, who Kentucky is still in the running for as he tries to reclassify into the 2017 class.

“Unique combination of size, length, and elite athleticism mixed with skill,” one high major coach said when asked what makes him special. “What is most impressive to me is how hard he plays. I haven't watched a game or workout where he hasn't played hard. For an elite kid, that is a very special quality.”

Kentucky has targeted Bagley, but doesn’t seem likely to get him, as the No. 1 player in the class of 2018 (who is trying to move to 2017) has spent a lot of his time on the West Coast, at schools like UCLA and USC.

Zion Williamson finished second in the vote, which also comes as no surprise. Daniels broke down Williamson’s advantage over other high schoolers, and his stats.

Williamson, who currently ranks No. 4 overall in the 2018 class, is a mismatch nightmare at the high school level because he has the ability to use his raw power and athletic ability to overmatch the opposition.

At the recent Adidas Nations event — where he teamed up with Quickley — Williamson averaged 22.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game, while going 49-for-76 from the field through six games. That’s insane production even for AAU.

Kentucky seemed likely to land Williamson until Kansas started flexing its recruiting muscle recently; now it seems as though it’s a battle between the two for the services of the best dunker in high school history.

Bol Bol and RJ Barrett also received some votes, coming in third. Bol is another player that appears to be favoring the West, as he’s favored to pick either Arizona or USC, but Kentucky is still hanging around in his commitment. Barrett seems to be in good standing with Kentucky, and Cal would certainly like to get him after watching him torch the USA U19 Team in Egypt.

Barrett was also voted the best scorer of the 2018 class, although it was a tight race.

“He’s a super, highly advanced offensive player, who always attacks anytime he has the ball,” a coach told Scout. “There’s always a threat for him to create for himself or for a teammate.”

Several other UK targets received votes in this category, including Marvin Bagley, Cameron Reddish, Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley.

And of course the player voted as best to build around was no surprise: it was Marvin Bagley again.

"Marvin Bagley is a once in every five to 10 year player,” one college coach explained. “He’s a program changer. His talent is through the roof and his overall game directly translates at the highest level."

You can read the rest of Daniels’ story here, which gives more quotes from coaches and Daniels’ take on each category.

As it stands Kentucky is in at least decent shape with all of these players, though Bol and Bagley do appear to be trending elsewhere, while Barrett is a big wildcard for now.