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.
Syracuse-Bound Tyus Battle Poised for Big Year at St. Joe’s
NEW YORK — A day after Syracuse-bound guard Tyus Battle went for 24 points in a 64-46 win over Prestige Prep at the Hoop Group Showcase, people were still talking about his performance.
“Tyus Battle was a man, he’s a man,” former Rutgers coach Mike Rice, who now works with the Hoop Group, told SNY.tv at the Sharette Dixon Classic on Sunday night. “Physically, his game is so mature. He moves at a different pace and a different explosiveness than a lot of high school players that I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them over my 22 years. He’s a man.”
The 6-foot-6 Battle had an eventful summer, decommitting from Michigan and pledging to Syracuse in July and then transferring to St. Joe’s-Metuchen from Gill St. Bernard’s in August in part so he could play alongside his younger brother Khalif, a freshman guard.
“I think he can go take the ball [at Syracuse] and make something happen positive on every single play,” Rice said. “And that’s the long line of great playmakers that they’ve had. What I saw this weekend, because of his nagging lower body injuries [last season], he looked in rare form this weekend.”
Breein Tyree agrees.
“Tyus is a machine,” he said. “He can shoot, he can take you off the dribble defensively, he rebounds. He does everything.”
Tyree, the St. Joe’s point guard who recently committed to Ole Miss, said he believes Battle, who was not at the Sharette Dixon, is motivated to have a strong senior season after missing the end of last year with a foot injury.
“[He is] extremely motivated,” he said. “After every work out we have we’re in the weight room right after it and then we’re getting up shots, so me and him have have the same mindset on everything.”
Now they are learning to play together on the court.
“We played pretty well, me and him are jelling pretty well,” Tyree said. “We just gotta get our other guards to start playing off us a little better.”
St. Joe’s also added Alonzo Frink, a 6-7 post player who is the younger brother of former St. Anthony’s and current LIU-Brooklyn forward Jerome Frink.
“It just opens up the floor a lot more,” Tyree said. “The help isn’t only focused on me when I have Tyus and Khalif as shooters on the wing. The same thing with him, it opens up the floor a lot more. He’s got a lot more room because there’s more threats on the floor.”
Along with St. Anthony’s, The Patrick School and Roselle Catholic, St. Joe’s figures to be in the mix for the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title.
“I think we’re the No. 1 team in the state,” Tyree said. “I don’t really see anybody stopping me, Tyus, Khalif and Alzono, and a couple other threats that we have on the floor. I think we taking the state this year.”
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.