New Jersey Guard Tyus Battle Picks Up Louisville and Kentucky Offers in Back-to-Back Days | Zagsblog
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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.
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Tuesday / September 27.
  • New Jersey Guard Tyus Battle Picks Up Louisville and Kentucky Offers in Back-to-Back Days

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    One day after picking up a scholarship offer from Louisville, 2016 Gill St. Bernard’s and Team Scan combo guard Tyus Battle has added a Kentucky offer to his collection.

    The 6-foot-6 Battle — who averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season at Gill St. Bernard’s — was at Kentucky Monday and Tuesday after visiting Louisville Sunday and Monday.

    “Not in a million years would I ever expect that at 16 years old, that my son, that we’ve been working since he was 6 years old with a dream to play college basketball, that we would have the best of the best,” Gary Battle, the player’s father, told SNY.tv by phone Tuesday evening.

    “He’s an A-class kid and I know he’ll stay that way, and I guess some people think he might be an A-class basketball player as a prospect and talent. It makes me feel good because he’s put in a lot of time, put up with a lot of stuff with me, telling him how to do this and do that, what’s important.”

    Kentucky earlier this week offered 2016 7-footer Thon Maker, as first reported by SNY.tv.

    Battle already held offers from Syracuse, UConn, Villanova, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Miami, Wake Forest, Maryland, SMU, Virginia, Ohio State and Indiana.

    Last month, Tyus Battle called it an “honor” to be recruited by coach John Calipari and Kentucky and he reiterated those comments Tuesday.

    “It’s a great feeling,” Tyus said. “I’m blessed I guess for all this in my recruitment and I’m really happy about it.”

    Battle met most of the Kentucky players, including fellow New Jersey native, 7-footer Karl Anthony-Towns of St. Joe’s-Montvale. Calipari has recruited the best of the best out of New Jersey in recent years, including Towns, Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

    “I met Karl, I met all the players, except Trey Lyles, he’s not down there yet,” Tyus said. “[Karl] said he’s happy for what I’ve done so far and happy that he saw me there.”

    Battle is still only a rising junior but said of the offer, “It’s very attractive because you know it’s Kentucky. He recruits a lot of high-level kids, recruits a lot of pros so it’s very attractive.”

    Gary Battle said Calipari told them he would “work hard in recruiting” Tyus.

    “A lot of things will be expected if he comes to Kentucky in terms of hard work hard,” Gary said. “Championships are expected, going to class is expected, being on track to get a degree is expected, trying to be the best in the world is expected.”

    Gary added: “It’s very attractive. Obviously, he’s a Hall of Fame level coach who’s been to two out of the last three Final Fours. He’s excited about the opportunity, I think every kid who’s out here doing what Tyus is trying to do is wanting Kentucky and the Kentucky-level schools to be recruiting them and he’s got that opportunity. So mission accomplished in terms  of him putting in the hard work, but this one is a special offer.”

    Gill coach Mergin Sina has no doubt Battle can compete at the highest levels.

    “It means that Tyus is looked at as a top-flight player,” Sina said. “In my opinion, the best player in the country. His upside is through the roof. I think Kentucky knows that.”

    A day earlier, Battle picked up a Louisville offer from head coach Rick Pitino while on a visit there.

    “Louisville’s a really, really great place,” he said. “I’m really happy about that, too. Coach Pitino’s a really good guy. The facilities are amazing at both places.”

    Battle met “pretty much all of the players” at Louisville and said they were “all trying to make it.”

    Pitino is a New York native who has also successfully recruited the New York/New Jersey area, including former New York City star Russ Smith.

    “I’m really happy and blessed with the opportunities,” Battle said.

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    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.