Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Duke, Indiana, SMU to Watch Tyus Battle; Syracuse Visit Made a Big Impression
ROSELLE, N.J. — In his third game back from a hand injury, Tyus Battle finally started to look like his old self.
The 6-foot-5 Gill St. Bernard’s sophomore guard went for 21 points, including two 3-pointers, and 5 steals as his team handled Plainfield, 50-37, in the PrimeTime Shootout at Roselle Catholic.
“[It’s] much better, my hand’s getting better each day,” Battle said of the hairline fracture to his right hand that occurred after he fell on it.
Battle is a special player who is being recruited at the highest levels.
“This kid is of the charts,” Gill coach Mergin Sina said. “I don’t use this term. This kid will be a pro and I think he’s the best player in the state. A lot of coaches might get upset about that, but I think he’s the best player in the state because he does a little bit of everything.”
He attended the Duke-Syracuse game last week and was planning on attending Friday’s Seton Hall-Villanova game but was unable to make it.
“We chose not to go,” he said. “A little late, but we’ll be up there, though.”
Meantime, Duke, SMU and Indiana are all due in this week to scout Battle.
Duke associate head coach Steve “Wojo” Wojciechowski is expected Thursday when Gill hosts St. Benedict’s Prep. Gary Battle, Tyus’ father, said he’s been talking to him “on a regular basis.”
“It’s just great, it’s an honor,” Tyus said. “It happened really fast, early on, so it’s just an honor.”
SMU will be in New Jersey Thursday to face Rutgers and head coach Larry Brown is expected to watch Battle at some point.
“Great coach, he knows a lot of people, he has Emmanuel Mudiay coming in so he’s gonna teach him a lot,” Battle said of Brown.
Indiana head coach Tom Crean and assistant Kenny Johnson are also expected in this week.
“The way he develops his players is great,” Battle said. “Both Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller got a lot better over the years.”
Meantime, Syracuse made quite an impression after they beat Duke, 91-89 in OT, in their first-ever ACC meeting.
“The atmosphere was ridiculous,” he said. “The end of the game made the locker room experience much better. Everything was happy and everything. When Duke made the 3 to bring it to overtime, it was ridiculous. A lot of ups and downs in that game.”
The game made an impression on his family, too.
“Well, my mom loved it,” he said. “It was her first college experience like that, so she was just enjoying the experience like all of us.”
Asked if he could see himself fitting in there, Battle said, “Oh, yeah, they like big guards.”
He also mentioned that Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua attended one of his games, and Tyus’ father said they watched him twice this summer.
“Freshman year it was tough, all this stuff,” he said. “But I’ve been taking it as a good thing and getting used to it.”
Battle also plans to visit Ohio State March 9 for the Michigan State game and will visit Michigan June 7. He also plans to visit Virginia in March and Villanova “soon,” Battle said.
Still, Battle has two years to make a decision.
“It’s still early,” Battle said. “I’m not really thinking about it too much. Just taking the time with the process.”
Roselle Catholic 2015 guard Isaiah Briscoe and 2015 forward Chris Silva will attend Thursday’s SMU-Rutgers game. SMU recently offered the 6-9 Silva.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.