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Tyus Battle is ready to emerge for Syracuse after a lifetime of learning through basketball

first_imgTyus Battle prefers to be alone and he has a smile that can light up a room. He’s not flashy with his emotions on the court, but he’s been expected to star at Syracuse since first committing. He analyzes his role in the game, while still relying on his basketball instincts to make plays.Those dualities in Battle’s life have groomed him for the opportunity to be a key contributor on the No. 18 team in the country. He’s come off the bench in the Orange’s (2-0) first two games, but is averaging 23.5 minutes, fourth most on the team. And in a year in which Jim Boeheim has more depth than any in recent memory, Battle epitomizes it with his multifaceted skillset that includes a nifty driving ability and a wingspan that can create problems for opposing offenses.“He didn’t come in looking like a freshman. He didn’t have that young boy look,” sophomore point guard Frank Howard said. “Clearly he’s strong, physical guy. But even in his actions on and off the court, he didn’t act as a freshman.”The basketball court is Battle’s sanctuary and his favorite place on campus to spend his downtime is at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center. He said he’s quiet in nature. And that’s where he can find his solitude.It’s been his getaway since he was little. Battle was around 6 or 7 when his family moved to a new town in New Jersey. His father, Gary Battle, helped sell his sons on the move by pointing out the new home was located within 100 yards of an outdoor court — easily visible from inside the house.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTyus took advantage, getting in his “10,000 hours,” Gary Battle said.“I just like to spend time by myself thinking, going to the gym, stuff like that,” Battle said.The invested time led Battle to the United States Under-17 team in 2014, which won the gold medal on a trip to Dubai. That’s Battle’s response when asked about his favorite vacation before quickly clarifying his statement. “Not really a vacation but the best travel destination I’ve been to.”Basketball is business. Battle doesn’t go on many vacations with his family. He spends his holidays in the gym with his father and younger brother. His dad coached him from third grade until ninth grade and has trained him his whole life. He’s the one Tyus credits most for his level-headed demeanor.Liam Sheehan | Staff PhotographerTeam USA’s coaches lauded his professionalism. When it was time to perform, Battle was as focused as anyone on a team that included Duke’s Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum and Kansas’ Josh Jackson, the top three recruits in the 2016 recruiting class, per ESPN. Battle was ranked No. 35 in the class.The athletic guard came off the bench for Team USA, taking on a similar role he’ll likely have with the Orange this season. He can jolt the team when called upon.“He was the guy we turned to as a coaching staff,” said Eric Flannery, an assistant on Team USA. “And I think those guys are undervalued.”On Tuesday night against Holy Cross, Battle subbed in and missed his first two shots. Four minutes later, he assisted an Andrew White 3, stole the ball on the ensuing possession and knocked down a triple at the other end. Syracuse was riding a 13-3 run and Holy Cross was forced to take a timeout with the game getting out of hand.Battle simply walked to the sideline and nonchalantly nodded at assistant coach Gerry McNamara.In practice though, Battle comes out of his shell. He constantly competes with fellow guard John Gillon. Who can shoot better? Who can win one-on-one? Who can make better off-ball cuts? Gillon described him as one of the most confident people he’s met. He has a vibrant personality, Gillon said, but it’s not over-the-top.“I don’t think he’s a quiet guy,” Gary Battle. “I think he’s selective in what he does.”Liam Sheehan | Staff PhotographerAfter leading Syracuse with 16 points in a preseason exhibition against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Battle said, “I thought I played alright.”Being self-aware didn’t come easy to Battle. He improved in the area during his junior year because his right foot was broken in two places. He couldn’t play so he spent time in the weight room and packed on 30 extra pounds.It was the step back that Battle needed. It helped him gain perspective and better grasp the mental side of the game. His dad constantly preached that basketball is mostly mental. The injury helped Battle learn to stay even-keeled.“That was the biggest turning point of my life,” Battle said. “… It got to me a little bit. … I just learned how important the game was to me and how quickly it could be taken away from us.”Battle’s dream was just to get an offer to play in college. In one day during his freshman year of high school, he received three. All of a sudden, he realized his hideaway was turning into a stage.He doesn’t hesitate to let the ball fly when catching a pass in the corner or when he has an open lane to the basket. He’s aware of the situations he’s in. He balances the job he needs to accomplish and the attention he attracts.“During this whole process of basketball, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs,” Battle said. “But if you just stick the course, play your game … things will turn out alright.” Comments Published on November 16, 2016 at 11:57 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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