The recruiting “Battle” Duke wants to win


Fresh off Team USA gold, Coach K is back at Duke gearing up for the upcoming season and beyond. On his agenda, making up for lost time on the recruiting trail. Accompanied by assistants Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer, Coach K paid a visit to New Jersey’s Gill St. Bernard School, home of highly sought after 2016 recruit, Tyus Battle.

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At age 11 Battle earned his nickname, Kid Mamba, because Kobe Bryant is his favorite player and people think he plays a little like the Black Mamba. Unlike Kobe though, going straight to the NBA out of high school isn’t an option for the 6’6, 180 pound shooting guard. That is very good news for Coach K and the Blue Devils.

According to Adam Zagoria of, Gill head coach, Mergin Sina said Duke had a very “impressive presentation.” “You get a guy like that coming into Gill, obviously he’s a legendary coach. He was really good. He knew Tyus to a ’T,’ which always helps. He had a good evaluation of Tyus. He explained all the things that he could work on to get better, and some of the things that are going to make him successful.”

“The elite guys all say the same thing about Tyus, that he is versatile. That’s something that will help him”-Coach Mergin Sina

Sina went on to say, “They like him as a multipurpose player, which I agree with. I think he can play two or three positions, two very well I think and the third one [point guard] he’d have to work on. The point guard is the one he has to work on, the two is more of a natural position for him. He can get a rebound and go with and handle the ball in transition. The elite guys all say the same thing about Tyus, that he is versatile. That’s something that will help him.”

The group of “elite guys” hustling to land Battle are the most prominent names in the game. In fact in the last several weeks Gill has been a revolving door of Division 1 coaches including: Kentucky’s John Calipari, Virginia’s Tony Bennett, UConn’s Kevin Ollie, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Ohio State’s Thad Mata, Villinova’s Jay Wright, Florida’s Billy Donovan and most recently Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim.

In addition to what Sina points out, what other qualities does the 5-star recruit posses that make him so attractive? In Battle’s own words to Bleacher Report he says the highest compliment he’s ever received about his game was about his “motor,” his signature move is his cross over, he likes to get to the basket, he’s a good mid range jump shooter, he plays on the ball defense and he likes to get his teammates involved a lot.

His ESPN scouting report reads, “A big perimeter player with high physical upside and a versatile floor game, Battle might actually be most gifted on the defensive end of the floor where he has the ability to be a true lockdown defender.” That’s great to hear as everyone knows how much Coach K values defense.

Battle is expected to take an unofficial visit to Duke next month, which is a good sign. Right now it’s a recruiting war out there between a Who’s Who of college coaches and this is one “Battle” Duke wants to win.