Well, chalk this one up as a pleasant surprise. After plenty of speculation that Syracuse guard Tyus Battle would be heading to the NBA, regardless of what the mock drafts have said, the rising junior gave the Orange some good news by withdrawing his name from this year’s NBA Draft.
Jeff Goodman was among the first to report the news, with several others following suit. Battle then took to Instagram and confirmed it himself:
— Ted Gioia (@Ted_Gioia) May 30, 2018
This is obviously huge news for Syracuse. The team will now return the entirety of its starting five, while adding in some serious scoring talent in Elijah Hughes, Jalen Carey, Buddy Boeheim, and Robert Braswell.
It’ll be interesting to read Battle’s comments on why he chose to come back, but it’s been reported that the idea of getting his degree in three years was alluring, and the 2019 draft is considered much thinner, particularly when it comes to guards. While Battle was a considered a fringe first rounder this year, he has a chance to vault up into the top 20-range next season.
Of course, now the big question will be how Jim Boeheim juggles his plethora of guards. Along with Battle, the Orange return Frank Howard, and Howard Washington is coming back from an ACL injury. Elijah Hughes becomes eligible, and Jalen Carey and Buddy Boeheim are added to the mix.
Obviously, Hughes could (and likely will) see some time at small forward, and there’s a chance Washington could redshirt in order to give his knee enough time to fully heal. But this is a good problem to have, and one the Orange haven’t had to deal with in a few years.
This is a good day for Syracuse basketball. With everyone back from last year’s Sweet 16 team, this team has a chance to be very, very good in 2018-19.