The Headline – For a 5-foot-10 guard from South Jersey, Rutgers gives Khalil Batie a top-level education and stories for the rest of his life. While Batie's shining moment at Rutgers was a simple six points against New Hampshire two years ago, the walk-on from Trenton (N.J.) Catholic Academy feels thankful for the chance to keep playing.
“It's something I can tell my kids later on down the line that their dad played for Rutgers and had some sort of impact in some way at some time,” Batie said. “... It was definitely a tough transition from planning on leaving to coming back to playing for coach [Steve Pikiell] and having to get adjusted to all of the new things he's brought in. I think that tough transition is going to help me in the long run, not just in basketball but in life.”
Rutgers honors Batie Saturday against Illinois as one of two departing seniors alongside CJ Gettys. After he briefly left the program in the offseason, Batie returned as a valuable scout-team guard.
“He works hard,” said head coach Steve Pikiell. “He's been a great guy in the locker room. He runs our scout team, and does a great job. He was Melo Trimble the other day on scout team and probably made every shot that he took just like Melo did in the game. He's been great, just another great piece of the program. I'm just thankful for his time here.”
Batie said he is not done with basketball, and will transfer to another program after he graduates with the help of the Rutgers coaching staff.
Worth Noting – Thursday evening marks the first practice since Pikiell sent his players a post-game message against Maryland.
“I just want them to play hard and play like Rutgers basketball has played most of the year,” Pikiell said. “Play relentless and that kind of thing. If senior day motivates them, that's a great thing.”
Quote of the Day – “Getting these guys to fight until the end of the buzzer has been a complete change from last season. Their games were over at halftime last year. As coach Pikiell likes to say, the game was over the second the ball comes out of the referee's hand to tip the game off. They like to fight and they're going to do that next year. They're going to keep working hard and be a lot better.” – Gettys.