Last week, Tyus Battle entered his name into the NBA Draft. But like seemingly every player in college basketball, he entered his name without an agent. That means he is still eligible to return to college. The draft pool this year is as deep as it has ever been. Seemingly everyone except Oshae Brissett and Deandre Hunter decided to test the waters. A record 236 players entered their names in hopes of being one of the 60 draft selections this June. While many of these players will return to college (see Eastern, Nojel), there will still be a decent amount of players that decide to bet on themselves despite having low prospects this season.
Now the question for Battle is whether he will exercise his possible return. He has until 10 days after the May 20th NBA Draft Combine to decide whether or not he wants to come back. Tim Leonard and I talked about this in podcast form after the news broke last Friday here:
However, some new rumors have surfaced about Battle’s potential return. Spectrum Sports Mark Larson reported that Battle is definitely staying in the draft.
Source close to program tells me @tyusbattle1 is definitely not coming back after declaring for the @NBA Draft Friday. Says he almost didn’t even finish out the semester. #OrangeEmpire #Syracuse #NBADraft
— Mark Larson (@MLarsonSports) April 23, 2018
There are a couple of major red flags to this report if all the content in it is true. The fact that Battle almost didn’t return to school is a dead giveaway that he is on his way out. Dropping out of school is a move that players who are definitely entering the draft make since they know that whatever classes they miss won’t impact their eligibility for the next season since they are gone.
At this point, it makes too much sense for Battle to keep his name in. NBA scouts know what Battle is at this point. He’s an elite scorer in the nation’s toughest conference who dealt with the burden of playing 40 minutes pretty much every night and didn’t really break down in the process. By coming back to college, not much is going to change and the door is left open for a potential major injury from playing so many minutes every night.
One of the questions for Battle’s translation (like every Syracuse player ever) to the NBA is how his defense will hold up after playing in a zone defense his entire college career. But his frame and quickness suggest that he is NBA ready, not to mention that his defense was one of his major strengths coming out of high school. He should test well there.
Some people criticize Battle’s jump shot, but he has shown flashes, especially in the mid-range, that he can knock it down. Along with that, NBA teams will like his frame and athleticism and decide to worry about the jump shot later. With NBA training, his shot will improve drastically after a year of professional training.
At this point, there really is not much that Battle can do to improve his stock. While some people say that next year’s class is much weaker than this year’s, that’s always the case. So many players emerge out of nowhere. Trae Young was far off of people’s draft boards, now he’s a top 10 pick. The same thing will happen next year with sleeper freshmen and international players. Battle could get lost in the shuffle again, so now is the best time for him to enter the draft. He can make his money and get professional training as early as possible to come full circle on his NBA dream.