Tyus Battle will soon find out if he has made the 12-man roster for the USA U16 National Team, but he has already impressed head coach Don Showalter.
“Boy I tell you, he is a tough kid defensive-wise,” Showalter told SNY.tv Saturday by phone from Colorado Springs, Colo. “He struggled a little bit shooting the ball the first practice or two, but he’s just kind of fitting right in and shooting the ball much better. So I like him a lot.”
Showalter will cut the 31-man roster down to 12 on Saturday night and name the final list Sunday morning.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard’s is obviously hoping to make the roster for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship later this month in Uruguay.
“It’s a great honor because you’re representing your country and if you make the team, you get to play against the best kids in the world,” Battle told SNY.tv. “If you don’t make the team, you get to highlight your flaws and just get better at them.”
Battle said he and his fellow U16 teammates are inspired by watching Olympic stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.
“Those guys are just great competitors and they go after it every time they step on the floor,” Battle said. “They can run a team and there’s some special players out there [with the U16 team]. Probably a few of these players will be playing on the Olympic team, too, one day.”
As far as recruiting, Battle listed Indiana, UConn, Syracuse, Ohio State, Villanova and Washington among his 13 offers.
“Indiana offered me a month ago and Washington offered me two days ago,” Battle said.
As for Syracuse, Battle said associate head coach Mike Hopkins has been recruiting him hard.
“I like them because they’re a smart team, their zone, they play very good defense and they get out in transition a lot,” Battle said. “And they have big guards.”
Indiana has also recently made a push.
“I like Indiana a lot,” he said. “I like Coach [Tom] Crean, really nice guy. I think I’m going to visit June 22.”
UConn is also in the mix.
“Coach [Kevin] Ollie is a really nice guy,” he said. “I went to go visit that school earlier this year and he’s a really nice guy.”
Battle visited Villanova for Midnight Madness.
“The coach [Jay Wright] seemed really nice, I like the team,” he said.
Looking ahead, Battle and Team Final will be at the Peach Jam next month.
For now, though, Battle is just hoping to make the final 12-man cut in Colorado Springs.