Following an first round NCAA Tournament loss where he scored 16 points and hit three three-point shots, Syracuse Orange junior guard Tyus Battle will declare for the NBA Draft. The news was first reported by Adam Zagoria, citing a source.
As you’ll recall, we’ve been here before with Battle. He declared last April following a strong sophomore campaign, but opted to return to Syracuse at pretty much the last possible moment. At the time, he was considered a fringe-first/early second round pick, but felt he learned some things while going through the process that could improve his game going forward.
As a junior, he improved his overall shooting percentage (from 39.9 to 43.3), and increased assists and rebounds to 2.5 and 3.3 per game, respectively —plus shot better from three (36.6 percent vs. 32.2 percent). But his per-game shooting numbers also declined by two full points (down to 17.2) and his free throw accuracy also dipped a little. At least a little bit of the decline can be chalked up to not having to play entire games, thankfully, though he still found himself on the court for the lion’s share of the Orange’s available minutes.
While Battle doens’t appear in a ton of mock drafts right now, part of that could be from the fact that he was no guarantee to declare (even if we all assumed he would). The Athletic has him going 55th to the Philadelphia 76ers right now. As Zagoria mentions, Battle could be a prime candidate for a two-way deal with an NBA club and their G-League affiliate.
So this is probably it for Battle as a member of the Orange. He’s been a team leader and clutch shooter for three seasons, and despite being asked to do more than most players in the country in carrying a direction-less offense, he still performed pretty well more often than not. There’s time for a full retrospective down the road. But for now, best of luck to Battle as he gets ready to hopefully get selected in the draft.