2016 5-star shooting guard Tyus Battle has cut his list down to seven schools, and Villanova is now out of contention for the Gill St. Bernard's (NJ) star.
2016 Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ) guard Tyus Battle has cut his list to Louisville, UConn, Michigan, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Ohio State & Duke.— Alex Kline (@TheRecruitScoop) February 23, 2015
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the absence of Kentucky. Duke has long been considered the favorite, but it's rare to see Kentucky eliminated from contention for any 5-star prospect, especially this early in the recruiting cycle. He also eliminated Florida and Virginia.
Villanova offered Battle very early on and seemed to have a decent foothold with the elite guard. Battle took a couple of visits to campus and his father spoke highly of Jay Wright to the press. In recent months however, the Wildcats have faded publicly with Battle as he's been focusing on other schools.
Via Adam Zagoria, Gary Battle's father detailed the reason behind the latest cut.
"We had some core values and we have some particulars on how they wanted to play him," Gary Battle, the player’s father, told SNY.tv by phone on Monday. "He was really big on that, how they were going to play him. He wanted to have the opportunity to play on the ball and play off the ball. If a school for the most part told him he wasn't going to have an opportunity to play on the ball, and he was going to have to play on the wing, they got cut. Even if they told us they were going to and we didn't see it in their system — we watched a lot of basketball — we cut them.
It's always tough to lose out on a player of Battle's caliber, but in the end this might not be a bad thing for Jay Wright and staff. They have put a premium on players who are willing to buy in to their system and put the team about themselves. Villanova has several targets on the wing remaining, including Rawle Alkins, Lamar Stevens and DeAndre Hunter. Being eliminated from Battle's list should allow them to focus on closing 2016 strong and getting a good headstart on the 2017 class.