In SU’s last game, a 72-49 win over Northeastern, Tyus Battle struggled again, going 0-4 on three point attempts. It continues what has been a mysterious season for Battle’s jay, both on the court and in the quote-book.
Battle’s looming NBA decision was the talk of the summer. But while everyone was talking, Battle was working. He went to Los Angeles to work with skill development guru Drew Hanlen. Hanlen is an explosive young talent in coaching. He has worked with NBA standouts like Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum and Zach Levine. Last summer, Battle shared Hanlen’s time with the likes of Mo Bamba and Justin Jackson.
In LA, Battle worked with Hanlen to fix a hitch in his jump shot, according to reporting by the Syracuse Post-Standard. The hitch was one concern about Battle as a pro prospect, along with a perceived lack of NBA range. Both criticisms can be argued, but going to a skills whisperer like Hanlen suggested Battle was ready to take his jump shot to the next level.
The fruits of his labor did not show early in SU’s season. The junior was 1-11 from deep through four games. Battle attempted just two three pointers in Syracuse’s opening two games. Something was wrong. Then Head Coach Jim Boeheim said this:
“He’s not shooting as well as he shot last year. I hope nobody ever changes his shot again. We gotta get him back to shooting like he did last year when he was a pretty good shooter. Now he’s been struggling even from the foul line and last year he didn’t miss any.”
It sure sounded like a direct jab at Hanlen’s work with Battle over the summer, suggesting someone changed his technique for the worse.
Boeheim also cited the absence of Frank Howard as a reason for Battle’s shooting woes.
“The whole thing of how he played early with him having to play the point, I just think wasn’t good for him,” Boeheim said after the Colgate game, “It wasn’t good for the rhythm of the way he plays.”
SU’s win against the Raiders sparked a hot streak for Battle, who began to shoot like his sophomore-year-self over the course of three games. He even won ACC Player Of The Week. Battle was pressed by reporters on his jump shot after an impressive outing against Cornell and had this to say:
“(my jump shot) has always been fine… slumps happen… I took a lot of shots over the summer trying to make it more consistent. I definitely feel like it’s better now than last year, and it’s gonna show throughout the season… I’m trying to get more arc on it. That’s the biggest thing.”
He seems to take a step back from what was reported this summer and what Boeheim alluded to in his Colgate post-game press conference, with Battle denying that he made any notable changes to his shooting form over the summer. The only thing he relented was getting more arc. He could be protecting Coach Hanlen at this point, which would be respectable. The important thing is, he’s defiantly confident about the potential of his marksmanship.
When asked about the coaching staff’s involvement in getting Battle’s jumper back, Jim Boeheim said that they simply made sure to help Battle get a lot of shots up. No mention of any technical intervention to reverse the summer’s work.