The buzz around freshman shooting guard Tyus Battle in November that he was a very likely one-and-done candidate. The kid from New Jersey is a solid shooter and excellent at driving the lane to get a his shot at the hoop.
Yet here we are in March and the narrative has changed. Partially because of his play—he hasn’t been as prolific and a scoring drought coupled with flu cooled the hype around him—but in large part due to his enjoyment in the program.
“It’s been an amazing freshman year,” Battle said after the win Saturday over Georgia Tech. “It’s been everything I hoped for.”
This all started when a reporter asked Battle about the comparison of him to Malachi Richardson. Richardson had a great NCAA tournament last year during Syracuse’s run to the Final Four. He translated the performance into a first round selection with the Sacramento Kings a few months later.
Battle was hesitant to make the comparison himself. He said that he had not thought about it much. I could tell there was something holding him back, so I asked him outright, “So does that mean you’re staying?”
The young guard shrugged and smiled. He knew he had been caught.
“Yeah, I think I’m staying,” he admitted.
So there you have it. The Orange will have its starting shooting guard spot shored up for at least next season.
Battle is currently averaging 10.8 points and 2.1 rebounds, though he has been in double digits in each of his last four games, including 22 points in SU’s regular season finale against Georgia Tech.
However, a huge run in the tournament where Battle gets hot could change everything. For now, he is staying.
And Syracuse better hopes it stays that way.