You’ve been quite the traveling man recently with the various school visits…
Tyus Battle: Yeah, I’ve been enjoying going through the process. The most recent visits were Syracuse, Kentucky and Duke. I’ve been to Syracuse and Kentucky before.
How different were the experiences for you at Syracuse and Kentucky going back for second visits?
Well the Syracuse visit I got to see more of the campus, I had only been before really for their Midnight Madness so I really hadn’t had a chance to see the campus before. With the Kentucky visit this time, it was for the Midnight Madness there.
What were your impressions of the Syracuse campus?
Oh, it’s really nice, they have one of the best Communication schools in the country and I got to see that, that was really nice.
Are you planning on majoring in communications?
I’m not sure but I am thinking about it. I want to do something sticking in the sports area, so I am thinking about it.
What were the topics of conversation with the coaches at Syracuse?
It was good, they talked about how they would play me and their recruiting class they have coming in, stuff like that. It was really good talking to them. It was really good what they shared with me, I know some of the guys already that they are bringing in, guys like Malachi, he’s close to me in Jersey, I know him pretty well. They said they would have him on the ball, combo guard, maybe play the point or switch it up and play him at the two as well. It’s good that they recruit my area, I know a lot of guys from this area who went there and I know a lot of guys that they are recruiting, so it’s a positive. It’s pretty close, it’s about a three or three and a half hour drive from here.
How much does distance matter to you when evaluating schools?
My dad and I talked about it, but if I really love the school—travel is fine. My parents want to come see me play sometimes, so trying to make it easier on them.
How does that desire impact a program such as Duke or Kentucky?
They aren’t too far, on the plane ride it’s pretty short. Duke is actually a really short plane ride, like 50 minutes or so and Kentucky is only like an hour and 30 minutes away or so. I didn’t realize Duke was so close, it wasn’t that long of a plane ride at all, it went really fast.
What are your impressions of Syracuse's depth chart?
If I end up going there, I think it’d be a pretty good team because they are recruiting some pretty high level guys.
Is early playing time a big factor for you in your consideration of any school?
Playing time is always important but you always have to compete for it though, no matter what you have to practice and compete for your minutes.
What kind of questions are you asking of the coaching staffs that are recruiting you as you are determining your potential fit there?
Well I ask a lot about development stuff, that’s really important for me because I’m going to be there for awhile. I just want to keep on getting better and keep on improving and become the best player I can possibly be, that’s what important to me.
With expecting to be in school for “awhile”, are you planning on likely being a three or four year player in college?
Yeah, I always think about it that way because you never know what can happen.
Switching gears to the Duke visit, did you have any questions heading down?
Yeah, it was an unofficial visit and with having never been to Durham before, I had heard Duke was beautiful and I had heard a lot of really good things about it, so I was really excited heading down.
How did the visit proceed once you got there?
The weather is really nice, it was warmer than New Jersey right now. The campus is beautiful, it’s really really nice and it had a historic feel to it. The Cameron arena is just amazing, it’s small but it has a nice little high school feel to it but man, the energy in there is just amazing. The Midnight Madness, the people in there they always stand up, the students always stand and they always make a lot of noise and stay pretty loud.
How do you compare what you saw during the Duke Midnight Madness to what you saw at Kentucky’s?
I really liked both of them, both places were a little different but I really enjoyed my time at both.
How much time did you have with the Duke coaching staff?
A lot of time, I talked to Coach K a lot, Coach Scheyer, I spent a lot of time with him too. I just really enjoyed my time out there. It was really nice with them, Coach K is a pretty funny guy, he made a few jokes at different times, I enjoyed spending time with him. Coach Scheyer is really a cool guy and it’s cool that they have the whole coaching staff of former players, that was really nice.
What kind of questions did you have for the Duke staff?
Playing style, development, stuff like that and whatever came to my mind while we were talking.
Did Coach K or Coach Scheyer say anything that caught and kept your attention while you were there?
They said I play really good defense, stuff like that. They said I could play multiple positions on the floor and if I went there, I’d probably play like, I could guard any position there one through four, stuff like that.
Did you have any follow up feedback or questions to how they discussed your potential role there?
Not really, not too much.
On the player side, who did you get to spend time with on campus?
All the players are pretty cool. Tyus Jones who is a really good guy, Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow were all really good. It’s going to be a really good team this year with those guys and Jahlil is a monster in the paint. Justise is a guy who can really do anything, he can guard any position on the floor. They were all really cool and those three were the main guys I hung out with.
What did you learn about those guys that you didn’t know going into the visit?
T hey talked about the school and how much they love it. Everyone said they loved the school and how much Coach K has gotten them better even though they haven’t even been there that long, it shows a lot.
How would you say you felt about Duke going into the visit versus how you feel about them now that you have seen the campus and spent time with the staff and players
I actually like them a lot, it was really nice. Small school, but a really nice family atmosphere, I really enjoyed it.
Every guy has expectations going into visits, how would you say Duke measured up to yours?
I think they exceeded it. The campus feel, it kinda reminded me of my high school and I liked it. It’s always a plus with that because I love the school that I’m at right now, so it’s always a plus.
Moving forward, are there any other schools that it’s really important for you to visit?
I think I pretty much have a lot of info so far, I might go on another visit but I’m not sure.
As you and your family evaluate things, what's next?
I’m probably going to cut my list down to between 10-12 schools before my season starts and then take officials from there and decide.
With official visits, is it 100% important to you that you take all five of them?
One at a time and see how it goes. Right now I'm not really sure about officials, I haven't talked to my dad about that yet.
Are there any schools you know for sure you would like to take an official visit to?
I’m not sure yet, I have gotten a lot of information from schools, especially since so many of them came to my school and visited with me.
Was that during the September visits?
Yeah, Ohio State has done a really got job at staying in contact with me, Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse and Michigan have done a really good job with that stuff and Florida too.
How would you characterize Kentucky’s spot in your recruitment?
I think they are recruiting me pretty hard, I really enjoy Kentucky, it’s a really nice place and Coach Cal does a great job there.
When you were on campus for the visit, what were your conversations with Coach Cal like?
Well Kentucky is known for getting guys to the league which is nice and I just really liked it. Style of play is good and I really enjoyed it.
What do you see as your potential role at UK?
Yeah that’s something I look at with every school, what’s the roster going to look like. I pretty much look at the same things with every school and compare my situation to each place. I know a lot of guys they are recruiting from USA Basketball, so it should be good.
Do you think any schools have presented to you what appears to be a great potential fit for you both with role, playing style, development, and similar?
I think the way Michigan said they would play me, Syracuse, Ohio State, more of a combo, one to two because that’s how I play in high school and that’s how I’m used to playing so I’m really comfortable in those positions.
The other schools that are seriously recruiting you—are they presenting a different kind of role you would play from what you have seen with Michigan, Ohio State and Syracuse?
I think they present like a two, a two guard and a wing, but I’m comfortable playing either way. It’s not a big difference.
Michigan is discussed quite a bit in your recruitment and the position they hold—how far back does your relationship go with them?
Well I visited the school earlier in the year and they offered me around July, something like that so it doesn’t go too far back but I like Michigan. I like the academic part and the way they would play me and the way they talked about developing me because they always develop their players and their guards.
How much does your friendship with Derryck Thornton Jr. play into your evaluation of schools ? Are you guys hoping to play together in college?
Well we talk about who is recruiting us but I don’t think we’re a package, it’s just whatever happens happens. There’s no firm conversation about playing together.
Is there an advantage for you and him with schools that are seriously recruiting both you and him to come to school together?
I guess, we played with each other through USA Basketball and we played in some camps together, so I guess you could say that.