PEACH JAM: Battle impressed with UK

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- One of the Wildcats' recent scholarship offers in the Class of 2016 got a chance to see how he stacked up against the current UK team on a recent unofficial visit to Lexington.

"It was great," said five-star Edison (N.J.) Gil St. Bernard's wing Tyus Battle. "They compete. I think it was their second day of playing pickup together, so I got a really good chance to see early stages of how they're going to be in the year. They're going to be a really good team. They have some good players, and they get after it."

And did anyone in particular impress the young recruit?

"Devin Booker," Battle said. "He's a really good shooter, and he does other things like takes it off the dribble, which I was really surprised about because everybody just labels him as a shooter."

Kentucky is one of several major programs in pursuit of the 6-foot-6 Battle, who is ranked the No. 3 small forward and No. 12 player overall in the junior class by Scout. He is also mulling early offers from Louisville, UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Miami, Villanova, Providence, Indiana and Ohio State, among others.

He is not listing a top five or any potential leaders at this time. "It's early," he said. "Real early."

Asked what the UK offer meant to him, Battle said: "It's an honor. High-level program. Coach Cal is a great coach, produces a lot of pros, so it's an honor and a blessing."

He was accompanied on his visit to campus by his father.

"It was great," he said. "The facilities are amazing. I got a chance to meet the guys (on UK's team) and they all say they love the school. They all love what Cocach Cal does."

The campus made a particularly strong impact on Battle.

"What they have is crazy," he said. "What they have set up for basketball players' success is the best I've seen from a lot of schools," Battle said.

He is being recruited by new UK assistant coach Barry "Slice" Rohrssen, who has extensive ties to the New Jersey/New York area.

"Really good guy, a funny guy... easy to talk to," Battle said. "He says he's really going to help me out if I go there."

Asked what Coach Cal has told him about how he could fit into the UK program, Battle said: "That I can play pretty much all (the backcourt positions) and I do a lot of things when I'm on the court, that I can impact the game in a lot of different ways offensively and defensively. I think I'm a pretty good defensive player, and he likes that."

Some have compared the long, rangy Battle to former Wildcat James Young.

The following is a breakdown of Battle's skills by Scout national basketball analyst Evan Daniels:

"Battle is a big-time perimeter shooter with easy range from downtown and also is a capable pull-up shooter who elevates very high off the dribble. He's a fine handler as well with an above-average first step, and thus he can play without the ball or use it to create for himself. He's slender but not frail, and over time he should develop ample strength to play on both ends of the court. He's also an above-average athlete."

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