Last season, Syracuse Orange basketball guard Tyus Battle just missed All-ACC first team by nine votes. The then-sophomore still earned second team honors in the conference and finished the year with an average of 19.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game while leading the nation in minutes played.
But Battle will have the chance to be among the nation’s leaders in another category as he’ll likely compete for All-American honors this season and could very well be in the conversation for the National Player of the Year race as Syracuse returns to national relevancy.
Mark Titus over at The Ringer already mentioned Battle among those in the NPOY conversation (and he wasn’t even trolling. Or was he?). Athlon predicted Battle as a First Team All-American and NBC Sports picked him as Second Team.
“I’m also really into Tyus Battle this year,” Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk said. “The reason he’s coming back is to prove to people that he can be a more efficient scorer and a more efficient creator and more of a combo guard at the NBA level.”
Efficiency was a big knock on Battle last year as he shot just under 40.0 percent from the floor and 32.2 percent from distance, but he was also forced to do a lot of heavy lifting scoring the ball last year and found himself in one-on-one situations frequently (for good reason, but not good for shooting percentage).
“I think that he’s gonna end up having a very very big year for a Syracuse team that we have ranked in the top 20,” Dauster finished.
Given a summer with Drew Hanlen out in LA and reinforcements in the fold for Syracuse, those numbers should go up, even with Battle being at the top of every opponent’s scouting report.
Even if Battle’s shots per game come down (15.8 last year), his efficiency should improve — he’ll have a real chance to finish around his points per game average of last season while also besting his rebound and assist numbers. But don’t expect his minutes to come down a ton.
Battle should be among those mentioned in top player rankings moving forward by various outlets and the NPOY race should be fun to track as we go this season. Looking forward to another year of #BattleFace