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Tyus Battle Spurns NBA Draft, Returns For Junior Season

After weeks of waiting, a ton of speculation and virtually no questions answered, we finally have an answer on whether or not we’ll see Tyus Battle in the Carrier Dome next season. The rising junior is staying in Orange and White, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. 

With the amount of question marks surrounding Battle’s draft stock and whether or not he would return to school, I guess we should have seen it coming that he would wait until the very last day to make his decision.

And not even the very last day. He essentially waited until the very last hour. 

The decision itself may come as a bit of a surprise, however. After all, we’re talking about an All-ACC performer that was the third leading scorer in the conference at nearly 20 points per game last season. At times, Battle has shown the ability to take over games and score at will and what NBA team doesn’t want that.

And many of them showed interest, too. Since the combine ended ten days ago, Battle has had private workouts with the Lakers (picks 25 & 47), Clippers (12 & 13), Magic (6, 35, 41), Knicks (9, 37) and Nets (29, 40, 45).

“I had incredible workouts with some amazing NBA organizations. However, the NBA (God-willing) will be in a future chapter for me,” Battle said in a statement released through SU Athletics.

On top of teams’ interest in working out Battle, many experts saw the 6-foot-6 guard as a viable option to be selected at some point in the draft.

First Round

USA Today: 28th pick to Golden State

Second Round

ESPN: 40th pick to Brooklyn (via LA Lakers)

Basketball Insiders: 32nd pick to Memphis

The Athletic: 40th pick to Brooklyn

The Ringer: 47th pick to LA Lakers

Sports Illustrated: 55th pick to Charlotte (via Cleveland)

In the end, though, it seems as if some of the concerns that scouts have had with Battle (three-point shooting, inability to be effective with both hands) are what kept him out of the draft this year. And now that he knows what he needs to work on, Battle says he’s ready to do it. 

“Although I may have been picked by the NBA team of my dreams, I feel it is in my best interest at this time to focus on improving some fine points in my game while continuing to work toward achieving my degree,” Battle said.

And can you really blame Battle for coming back? When a player heads into the draft early, they’d like to have some sort of guarantee that they’ll hear their names called (preferably in the first round) and that just isn’t there for Battle. Why leave school a year early when you don’t have a guarantee and when you can go back, have another outstanding season and improve your draft stock.

That’s not to mention the fact that this 2018 draft class is incredibly deep and talented, which might be playing into the fact that Battle isn’t seeing his name near the top of a lot of mock drafts. And by staying another year, he’ll put himself in position to be a part of the 2019 NBA Draft which is much less guard-heavy and appears to be a bit weaker in general. If performs well when he comes back, he could seriously boost his stock and find that first-round guarantee he seems to be looking for.

With all that being said, this decision from Battle to come back to school also has a huge impact on what the SU roster will look like come this fall.

Projected Starters

PG: Frank Howard

Wing: Tyus Battle

Wing: Oshae Brissett

Forward: Marek Dolezaj

Anchor: Paschal Chukwu

Bench

  1. Elijah Hughes
  2. Jalen Carey
  3. Bourama Sidibe
  4. Howard Washington
  5. Robert Braswell
  6. Buddy Boeheim

This roster is set to be absolutely LOADED in terms of depth with Battle coming back. Although it creates a bit of a log jam at the guard spot, this might end up being a good thing for another young SU team. It allows Elijah Hughes to acclimate himself to a full-time role with the team even though he spent all of last year in Central New York as well as giving Howard Washington ample time to come back from his knee injury. It will also take some pressure off Jalen Carey to perform as a freshman. Plus, Battle can also be a mentor for both players.

All in all, this move seems to be beneficial for every party involved. SU fans get to see more of Battle’s incredible talent and knack for the big moment. The young guards get to look up to Battle for another year. Most of all, though, Tyus gets to come back, improve his draft stock and continue to write his SU legacy.

“This year it’s all about the ‘Cuse!” Battle said. “I’d like to send a shoutout to all the ‘Cuse fans who supported me throughout this process as well as my family, coaches, teammates and Drew Hanlen (an NBA Skills Coach & Consultant).”

And this is only the end of the draft drama for now. In that same statement, Battle said he intends to re-enter the draft next year. We’ll keep you updated whenever the news comes around, but for now, SU fans can breathe a sigh of relief because Battle is back.

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