Hoops Walk-On Batie Steps Up

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – A Bishop Daniels injury on Thanksgiving weekend opened up the door for walk-on Khalil Batie off the bench for Rutgers. Batie scored six valuable points in a recent win over New Hampshire, and earned the trust of coach Eddie Jordan.

Eddie Jordan plays the players he trusts, and walk-on guard Khalil Batie was one of eight on the court in a recent 60-56 victory over New Hampshire.

The 5-foot-10 guard hit two long-range shots in the win, and gave Jordan seven key minutes off the bench.

“It shows me that a lot of my hard work is paying off because the coaches are seeing it,” Batie said. “My teammates are seeing my hard work and it’s correlating to the game.”

Batie’s second three-pointer dropped with 11:22 on the clock in a game Rutgers trailed 42-41. The shot started a 19-14 finish and Rutgers win.

“They were big,” Batie said. “We only won by four, so without them, we might have lost. I’m glad my teammates put me in a position to be successful and I capitalized on it.”

Batie earned Jordan’s trust with a strong pre-season camp. The second-year walk-on from Trenton Catholic played in seven games this season with all six points coming against New Hampshire.

“It touches me to know that [Jordan] trusts me,” Batie said. “Coach Jordan plays the players he trusts, and this lets me know that he trusts me and my teammates trust me. I’m going to continue to reward them by being the best player I can be.”

The increase in playing time came after starter Bishop Daniels went down against Vanderbilt with an injury. Daniels “looked great” in his Thursday return to practice according to Jordan.

Daniels could return Sunday against Manhattan, but Batie will be ready if a delay occurs.

“I feel as though Bishop is a key asset to our team, but who knows how long that he’ll be out,” Batie said. “All of us have to do our part to step up, and when he comes back, welcome him with open arms. Hopefully I’ll continue to play. I’m going to keep working.”

Batie averaged 13 points per game at Trenton Catholic. He picked Rutgers as a walk-on destination over multiple offers at lower levels.

“It was close to home for me,” Batie said. “My family and friends can support me from right in the stands. This is a big program, and after the whole (Mike Rice) incident, I felt like I could come and provide some sort of spark off the bench or in the support system.”

Playing for Jordan, a former NBA guard of his own, strengthened Batie’s draw to Rutgers.

“He’s helped me a lot on and off the court,” Batie said. “As a coach, your obligations are more than just being the coach on the court. His coaching is helping me improve my play, but also off the court just to grow up and be a man.”

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