Lost in the drama of Ed DeChellis' decision to leave Penn State for Navy last week and the ensuing coaching search has been Talor Battle's quest to break into the NBA. The Nittany Lions' all-time leading scorer has been preparing for months, and as Jeff Rice of the Centre Daily Times writes, he'll take the next step toward his goal of breaking into the League starting today when he works out with the Washington Wizards.
His odds of catching on in the draft are pretty long. A sweep of the draft projection sites returns almost nothing on the former Lion guard. That might be for the best, though. The absolute best Battle can hope for is a second round selection, and that would preclude him from shopping around and finding a situation that best fits his skill and maximizes his potential of actually making it in the NBA.
As I wrote over at SB Nation Pittsburgh last month, Battle could catch on by following the path of a guy like J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks, who's been a key part of that team's charge into the NBA Finals this spring. Barea went undrafted, but is now averaging 8.5 points and 3.4 assists per game in the playoffs. He's certainly no house hold name, but he's found an important role with a championship contender. Who's to say Battle can't do the same?
Just looking at the teams he's working out with, there are certainly some intriguing opportunities.
Washington is a very poor man's Chicago with star power at the point in John Wall and not much else around him. Battle could slide into the guard rotation of Wall, Jordan Crawford and Othysus Jeffers and provide solid minutes off the bench, and if he plays well enough, parlay that into a starting job.
In Sacramento, the guard pool is a little more crowded, so it might be tough for Battle to see the floor early on, but he could earn his way into a regular role rather easily. The same is true of Golden State and Oklahoma City, and you never know what one workout can open the doors to. After all, Battle was once ranked the No. 131 recruit in the country by Rivals and turned into a perennial All-Big Ten selection. He only needs one team to believe in him, and he might have a future in the League.
Oh, and if you're wondering what Battle thinks of DeChellis' move to Navy, Rice has the scoop.
"Far too often, people get upset with someone for leaving instead of understanding why someone left," Battle said. "He was great while I was there. If he felt it was a great opportunity, I respect his decision. And going from Penn State to Navy, he kind of went down a little bit, so you know it was a family decision."
As for that coaching search?
@PSUSTRETCH hey stretch was wondering if I could run for the head coaching job? Haha
He laughs, but I wonder how many people think that might not be such a bad idea.