Tyus Battle: Anxious To Embark On First USA Basketball Experience
Tyus Battle (Gill St. Bernard’s School/Edison, N.J.) participated in the 2013 USA U16 training camp but was cut after only three days. Last Tuesday, things were different and his chance finally came, as he was named to the 2014 USA Basketball U17 World Championship Team.
Out of the 12 members named to the team, nine were returners from the gold-medal winning national team that competed at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship last summer in Uruguay, making Battle one of the three new guys.
Yet, despite not having any experience competing for USA Basketball internationally, new is not totally correct, since his participation in the U16 training camp made him in one way or another a veteran during this year’s training camp.
“I was really excited when I was named to the team,” Battle shared on how he felt when he heard he had made the team. “Having the opportunity to represent your country and play the sport that you love, it’s the best thing that can happen.”
After starting off his summer in a pretty big way, receiving offers from several top Division I schools and succeeding in the EYBL circuit, Battle said coming to trials and making the team was pretty much the cherry on top.
“This topped off my summer,” he said of having the chance to compete at the World Championship. “Going to Dubai, wow, I’ve never been out of the country. Playing for the USA is a dream come true.”
Another special moment for Battle came on photo day, as that was the first time that he saw and got the opportunity to put on his USA uniform.
“It was nice!” he said with a huge smile on his face. “Seeing my uniform for the first time was amazing. To have USA across your chest, it means everything to me; there’s nothing like it.”
With domestic training camp now over, the U17 team endured two-a-day practices for over a week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to help them become a consistent unit and prepare for the intensity and competition they will face at the World Championship level. Battle believes the USA team’s key strengths lie in their defensive schemes and quickness.
“Our chemistry got better as the week went on during practices,” he said of the team gelling together while being in training camp. The biggest thing for us will be our defense; stopping teams and using our athleticism to get down the court and speed other teams up.”
A much more confident player this time around, Battle has used his shooting skills and versatility to be aggressive, attack and drive to the basket and serve the team in whatever role he may be needed, which in his case, can be more than one.
“Defensive stopper,” Battle said when asked what he provides to this team. “I can play three positions on the floor too, so I’m a little versatile. I wan to make an impact on the floor while I’m out there.”
“We have to play as a team, Battle continued. No individual play, but be a team, win as a team and win the gold.”
After completing over 20 hours of travel, the USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team arrived in Doha, Qatar, today, where they will hold practices from Aug.3-6, before traveling to Dubai on Aug. 7 for one last training session before the start of the World Championship.
The USA has been placed in Group A, alongside Angola, Greece and the Philippines. Preliminary round will begin on Aug. 8, with the USA tipping off against Greece at 1:00pm EDT. ESPN 3 will air the game live.