To say this was an interesting season for Syracuse basketball might be the understatement of the year. Taurean Thompson transferred just before the start of the semester, Geno Thorpe left in the middle of the season and then Darius Bazley announced he was opting for the G League instead of the Orange.
On top of all of that, the season also featured a surprise run to the Sweet 16. Many believe SU has the pieces to make another run in the NCAA tournament next year, but how deep the team goes will depend on the status of sophomore guard Tyus Battle.
Sticking with the theme of interesting developments for Syracuse, it is the middle of April and Battle has yet to make a decision on his NBA future. The NBA draft declaration deadline is on April 22, yet there are no reports about what Battle will do.
The speculation about what he will decide continues nonstop since the Orange last took the court against Duke almost four weeks ago. The pros and cons of Battle’s options have been thoroughly debated as well, so I won’t dwell on those. In truth, this situation is simply bizarre.
Battle is part of a very small group of players that have yet to announce. According to NBC Sports, he is one of only 15 players in the country that has not publicly made a decision. He only has a few days left to make his choice and yet there are no signs he has even come to a conclusion.
Reporters peppered Battle with questions throughout the season about his future with the team. That is nothing new. Many suspected Battle would be a “one and done” player. He faced these questions during his freshman campaign as well.
There was a distinct difference in how he addressed these questions in year two though. Every time the topic surfaced, Battle seemed exhausted by the issue. He appeared determined not to talk about it.
That was during the season. It has been close to a month since Syracuse’s season came to a close in Omaha. Battle had plenty of time to think, with no reporters hounding him because his media availability ends with the season. Oshae Brissett weighed his options for about two weeks and then announced his plan to return. It is difficult to understand why Battle is taking so long.
Maybe this is not a big deal. Battle may simply be seeking as much advice as possible from whoever he can about his draft prospects.
Even if that were the case, Battle could continue to explore that avenue by declaring for the draft, but not signing an agent. That would give him a window to gather more information about his draft stock and make a more informed decision. It would extend the deadline to May 30. It seems like the logical thing to do would be explore the opportunity of going pro, while keeping the door open on returning to school.
The longer this drags on, the more it seems like Battle is going to test the waters. If he truly wanted to return to Syracuse, he likely would have announced his choice by now. The lack of a decision reinforces the idea he is tired of the draft process. It seems like Battle wants something definitive, rather than to simply draw out the waiting period for a final answer.
With just days to go before the deadline, the answer to the important question will surface soon enough. Battle will have to announce his intentions. It is not guaranteed we will ever discover why it has taken him so long.