In Summer of the Garden State, New Jersey Stars Battle, Briscoe Win Gold | Zagsblog
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Monday / June 5.
  • In Summer of the Garden State, New Jersey Stars Battle, Briscoe Win Gold

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    Battle USAAfter winning two gold medals and the Peach Jam this summer, New Jersey’s top prep hoops stars can lay claim to being among the best in the nation.

    Tyus Battle, the 6-foot-5 combo guard from Edison (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard’s, won a gold medal Saturday with the U.S. U17 team at the U17 World Championship in Dubai.

    “When I heard the buzzer go off, I went crazy,” Battle said after the USA beat Australia, 99-92, in the gold medal game. “It was a hard-fought game and Australia was a really good team and I’m just so happy we pulled it out.”

    In June, Isaiah Briscoe, the 6-3 point guard from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic, also won gold at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, CO.

    In between those two events, Briscoe led the NJ Playaz — a team that featured other New Jersey high school stars including Moustapha Diagne of Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII, T.J. Gibbs of Seton Hall Prep and Eli Cain and Trevon Duval of St. Benedict’s Prep — to the Peach Jam championship in July.

    Battle and Team Scan reached the semifinals there before losing to the Playaz.

    Briscoe made the ZAGSBLOG All-Peach Jam 1st Team, while Diagne, Gibbs and Battle made the 2nd Team.

    Both Briscoe and Battle were also selected to the Elite 24 Game set for Aug. 23 in Brooklyn, although Briscoe won’t be able to compete because of a fractured foot.

    Also this summer, New Jersey-based Sports U won the Rumble in the Bronx and the Providence Jam Fest, while reaching the championship game of the Under Armour Finals in Atlanta.

    Briscoe Peach Jam action“The success of New Jersey players this summer in different areas of basketball has been amazing,” Roselle Catholic coach Dave Boff told “To have multiple players, Isaiah Briscoe and Tyus Battle, winning gold medals with USA Basketball is great for our state. It’s been a great summer for Isaiah also winning Peach Jam and performing well at various camps and events. I think what he and other New jersey players have accomplished this summer shows that our state is one of the or maybe the best for high school basketball.”

    Added Gill St. Bernard’s coach Mergin Sina: “There’s real good basketball in the state of New Jersey. One could argue maybe the best in the country. Both young men have worked extremely hard to get where they are now. The state of New Jersey should be proud.”

    Several high-profile New Jersey products are also on the national radar this summer.

    Kyrie Irving, who starred at Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick, is playing with the U.S. Senior National Team and is expected to make the cut for the FIBA World Cup.

    Karl Anthony-Towns, a freshman at Kentucky who won the Gatorade National Player of the Year award last year at St. Joe’s-Metuchen, is playing well enough on Kentucky’s trip to the Bahamas that an NBA scout told he could be in the mix for the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

    Meantime, Battle impressed USA U17 coach Don Showalter for making the most of his time on a team loaded with stars like Malik Newman, Diamond Stone, Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles.

    “I can’t say enough about guys like Tyus,” he said. “He’s the type of kid who is going to get a lot from this experience. He wasn’t with us last summer with the U16s, but he understands what it means to play for USA Basketball and he is a great teammate. He doesn’t sit on the bench and pout, he supports his teammates and then when his name is called, he comes in and does a great job. That’s what we expect out of all our kids. That’s kind of how we chose the team. We chose it a little from the standpoint of who will give us good minutes off the bench? Who is going to be a great teammate? And Tyus certainly embellishes that.”

    Said Battle: “I just want to do whatever I can to impact the game any way possible, defensively or offensively.”

    Battle this summer added offers from Arizona, Duke, Kentucky and Louisville and now holds offers from just about every major college power in the nation.

    A 2016 guard, Battle still has time to make his college decision.

    Briscoe, meantime, is in the Class of 2015 and is in the middle of a heated recruiting battle that includes Arizona, Louisville, St. John’s, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Villanova.

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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.