A note to SU: don’t mess this one up. With a limited ten scholarships available for the 2016 season, the Orange coaching staff has to pick and choose exactly which players and recruits are worthy of being on the roster two years from now.
Tyus Battle? He will definitely be on the team come 2016 if he decides he wants to play for SU. On Tuesday, Battle announced that he would be taking an official visit to the Syracuse campus at the end of this month. This officially means that the Orange have cracked the top five, as NCAA recruits are only allowed to take five official visits.
For the Orange, it needs to be all systems go. Battle isn’t just another recruit – he’s a cornerstone player that could jumpstart a team and carry it to greatness. Battle also fits the build of an SU guard: long and quick. He currently measures in at 6-foot-6, but remember, he’s only finishing up his junior year of high school right now.
Furthermore, the guard seems to have a feel for where he wants to go, narrowing his choices down to SU, Duke, Louisville, and Michigan. While he can pick a fifth school to visit, it looks like it will be down to this top four.
The Orange needs to earn Battle’s commitment for a few reasons. First, after losing Thomas Bryant to Indiana, the Orange need to nail down a big time recruit to remind fans and media that the NCAA penalties will not weigh down the athletic program. At this point, the only things that can prove the sanctions are just a speed bump are the product on the court and the recruiting classes coming in.
Second, unless Battle chooses the Wolverines, the Orange needs to get Battle just so it doesn’t have to face him year in and year out. Battle has chosen three ACC schools in his top four, and it would be a brutal reminder of “what could have been” if he is out on the court beating the zone defense.
Lastly, SU needs to bring in Tyus Battle because it needs him. The program figures to be pretty weak come 2016 when key players like Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije graduate and others potentially turn pro. Having a player like Battle headline the team in 2016 will put the Orange back in the national spotlight, if it isn’t already by that point.
Essentially, now is the time for the Orange coaching staff to step up. Battle’s interest in SU is no secret, so it’s time for the recruiting staff to play some hard ball and get persuasive, and move towards locking down one of the most special players in the class of 2016.
Posted By: Jason Weingold