It’s no secret that Syracuse basketball has seen a number of losses in the last week, namely Mike Hopkins and Tyler Lydon. However, the Orange received some good news today from a member of their freshman class. Tyus Battle announced that he will be returning to school for his sophomore season, according to Mike Waters from Syracuse.com.
While this does not come as much of a surprise to anyone, recent trends of Syracuse players waiting for their sophomore year to enter the draft have been monumental to their development and could change the trajectory of Battle’s potential NBA career.
You don’t even have to look very far back to see one. Malachi Richardson saw his stock skyrocket during last year’s NCAA Tournament, but as a rookie with the Kings this season, the 22nd pick in the 2016 Draft has bounced between the NBA and the D-League. Richardson is battling a hamstring injury that could sideline him for the remainder of the season, but before the injury, he only averaged 3.6 points in just 9 minutes for a Sacramento team that lacks a lot of talent. Likewise, Chris McCullough and Tyler Ennis were other surprising early declarers who have been in and out of the D-League and have not amounted to much in their NBA careers.
However, there were promising NBA prospects who decided to stay an extra year and have thrived in the league. Look at Michael Carter-Williams and Dion Waiters. MCW earned Rookie of the Year honors and has held the starting point guard job for the Chicago Bulls for a good amount of this season, when healthy. As for Waiters, he has willed the Miami Heat to a potential playoff spot with stellar mid-season play, which included a 13 game winning streak. After being a bench player throughout the majority of his career, Waiters has been plugged into the starting lineup and averages 15.8 points.
Battle’s skills have NBA written all over them, and his work ethic has already paid dividends in just a short amount of time. Coming into college, he was thought of as a get-to-the-rim type of player, but has developed one of the better jump shots on the Orange. Another year of improvements could play Battle into the lottery next season, given what he has already shown.
In the era of the one-and-done, many freshman can’t turn down the glamour of the NBA paycheck. However, the SU players who have stuck around in college for an extra year have seen that second and third payday in the NBA.