By ALEX SCHIFFER
Special to ZAGSBLOG
NEWARK — It’s fair to say that high school has been good to Tyus Battle so far.
A freshman at Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard’s, Battle is off to a great start for his high school career.
The 6-foot-5 combo guard is averaging 12.9 points and 4.4 rebounds for a 9-6 Knights squad that is coming off a big win Friday night against Syracuse-bound Tyler Roberson and Roselle Catholic at the Newark National Invitational.
Battle is the son of Gary Battle, a former All-American at New Haven and a 1,000 point scorer at Colonia High School back in the late ’80s. Battle is known for his nickname, “The Kid Mamba,” and has already drawn comparisons to Charlotte Bobcats rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a fellow New Jersey native.
Battle describes himself as a “guy that drives through the lane but also can pull-up and shoot, or pass the ball around.”
The Knights’ stud freshman is also known for having a fantastic handle for his age as well as being a lock-down defender. Many scouts think Battle will be a very complete player once he bulks up and perfects his range from beyond the arc.
Battle just added an offer from Indiana following his weekend visit to Bloomington for the Michigan game. Before that, he added offers from Villanova and UConn to go with offers from Cincinnati, Miami, Rhode Island, Rutgers, Seton Hall, SMU and Syracuse.
“It’s a great team, with a great coach in Coach Crean, and I’m honored to get to go out and see it for myself,” Battle said before watching then-No. 3 Indiana beat then-No. 1 Michigan, 81-73.
Battle said he plans on checking out UConn and a few other programs around the area soon.
As for the win against Roselle Catholic, Battle said, “It was a great game with two great teams going at it until the very end, so this is a big win for us.”
Gill St. Bernard’s also has Northwestern-bound point guard Jaren Sina, who went for 22 points and 10 assists in the win, and got Illinois commit Austin Colbert (15 points) and Florida International signee Chris Jenkins back in the lineup after both had to sit out 30 days to the transfer rules.
Battle thinks the chemistry is improving for the Knights and that they can only get better as a team.
“I think we’re going to turn it around,” he said. “Now that we’re starting to play more as a team we’re going to start playing like we should.”