It hasn’t been the most flawless of sophomore seasons for 2016 Gill (N.J.) St. Bernard’s five-star shooting guard Tyus Battle.
Missing five games with a wrist injury earlier in the season, Battle has fought through to help lead St. Bernard’s to a 14-4 overall record, filling multiple roles in the process.
“He’s comeback pretty strong,” Battle’s father Gary said. “Throughout the course of the year he has really improved his scoring ability. Jump shot has gotten better off the catch, which was a big emphasis this year for him and he’s playing a total game.
“The floor game, he’s about at four or five assists a game, he’s really been a tremendous defender on the ball, and he’s really developing his leadership skills; can play anywhere from the one, two or three on the high school level, one or two in college.”
At 6-foot-4.5, 175-pounds and currently rated as the No. 1 shooting guard in the 2016 class, Battle is consistently hearing from Ohio State, Indiana, Duke, Florida, Connecticut, Syracuse, Villanova, Miami, among others, and the Michigan Wolverines are keeping in close contact as well.
“It’s going well (with Michigan),” Battle’s father said. “I talk to Jeff Meyer pretty much on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I just talked to Coach Beilein two days ago; I called him myself. I put him on the phone with Tyus once but most of the communication is with me which is the way it should be for now.”
While some of the conversations with Beilein center on Michigan’s 10-2 start to Big Ten play and the ebs and flows of a college basketball season, often times the focus is off the court.
“We just talk about mutual interest,” Battle said. “They’re very interested in us and we’re very interested in them, which is always; Coach Beilein likes people who are interested in Michigan as a whole, not just as an athlete but as a family, a student-athlete and the whole student body and lifestyle at Michigan.
“On the basketball front, just how we’re doing, how they’re doing, how Tyus is developing; Coach Beilein commented on how he came to Gill St. Bernard and said it was a beautiful campus and the opportunities he has there because it’s a different kind of place and some of the similarities with that and Michigan.
“He’s always an easy guy to talk to.”
Michigan’s guard development in recent years, specifically the development of 2013 NBA first round picks Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., both of whom will compete in the upcoming Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend, stands out to the Battle’s.
With Hardaway Jr. and Burke now gone, the emergence of Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert this season proves there’s substance and consistency among the coaching staff.
“Man these guys are turning out to be pretty good players on the NBA level,” Battle said. “Especially Hardaway Jr., that was a little bit more of a surprise; I thought he was pretty good but he can do a lot more than what he displayed in college. I think that’s a credit to the work they do as far as guard development and skill development with the point guards and wings.
“Even this year they probably have some of the most productive wings in the country on their team. “They do a great job and have a real complete skill set with Stauskas, LeVert. And Trey Burke is having a heck of a year, he started off a little slow but he’s coming along and I think he might have a chance to be rookie of the year.”
The Battle’s, who recently visited Syracuse for their win over Duke, plan to take trips to Ohio State, Virginia, and Villanova in the coming months.
Another trip the Battle’s have planned includes a stop in Ann Arbor on June 7 for camp, along with fellow 2016 five-star guard Derryck Thornton Jr. With June 15 being Michigan’s ‘offer day’ for prospects wrapping up their sophomore years, a scholarship could be on the way.
“I think he’s high on their list in terms of prospects,” Battle said. “We’ll see how that goes. We haven’t really talked about necessarily what is going to come.
“I would think, at some point in time, he’ll get an offer. I know he wants one, that’s for sure.”
Battle’s father adding, “Why wouldn’t you want to go to Michigan? If I were in high school I’d want to go.”