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Game day notes: The Evan Battey file

A look at CU Buffs’ big man’s stats, highlights going into Senior Day

Dec. 18, 2021- University of Colorado ...
One of the more popular players in recent memory, CU Buffs forward Evan Battey will play his final home game at the CU Events Center. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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This week, BuffZone published a feature looking at the career of CU Buffs senior forward Evan Battey. Like many of those sorts of features, plenty of interesting quotes, stats and anecdotes were left on the cutting room floor.

As the Buffs get set for the regular season home finale on Saturday night against No. 2 Arizona (6 p.m., ESPN2), here is a look at Battey’s career stats, some extra notes, thoughts from those close to him, and an extra Q&A with the senior forward himself.

BY THE NUMBERS

Where Evan Battey ranks among CU’s career lists heading into the Arizona game.

Points: 1,226 (24th; Next: Scott Wedman 1,251, Blair Wilson 1,253)

Rebounds: 639 (22nd; Next: Donnie Boyce and McKinley Wright IV 644).

Games: 128 (10th; Barring an unexpected setback, Battey will finish with at least 131, which will tie Wright and Wesley Gordon for fifth all-time).

Starts: 103 (T-9th; Barring an unexpected setback, Battey will finish with at least 106, which will rank eighth all-time).

Minutes: 3,118 (18th; Next: D’Shawn Schwartz 3,169).

GREATEST HITS

A look at Evan Battey’s top games

CU Buffs 76, Norfolk State 60 (March 25, 2019): Battey went 6-for-7 at the free throw line and posted the first double-double of his career (12 points, 10 rebounds) in an NIT second-round win at the Events Center. Beyond the numbers, it was the spontaneous standing ovation Battey received from Buffs Nation, grateful and inspired by his comeback from a stroke the previous season, that provided a cornerstone moment of his career.

CU Buffs 81, Stanford 74 (Feb. 8, 2020): Battey sparked another memorable moment after a brutal collision with Oscar da Silva (the older brother of current CU sophomore Tristan da Silva) forced the Stanford star from the game with a head injury. The teams huddled together at midcourt before resuming play, with an emotional Battey sharing hugs with the Stanford players. Amid all that, Battey went 5-for-6 with 13 points and four assists in a Buffs comeback victory.

CU Buffs 91, Utah 52 (Jan. 12, 2020): Battey loomed large in a home rout of the Utes, going 8-for-11 from the field while recording 17 points and 10 rebounds.

CU Buffs 80, Stanford 76 (Nov. 28, 2021): After ragged showing by CU at the Paradise Jam, the Buffs returned home to open Pac-12 play against Stanford. Battey put on a show, going 8-for-11 overall and a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range before finishing with a career-high 22 points.

CU Buffs 83, Washington State 78 (Jan. 6, 2022): Battey went 2-for-3 from long range and 7-for-8 overall en route to 20 points.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES

The seven career double-doubles for Evan Battey:

Vs. Norfolk State, March 25, 2019 (12 points, 10 rebounds)

Vs. Iona, Dec. 29, 2019 (12 points, 12 rebounds)

Vs. Utah, Jan. 12, 2020 (17 points, 10 rebounds)

Vs. Washington State, Jan. 23, 2020 (12 points, 10 rebounds)

At Oregon, Feb. 13, 2020 (14 points, 11 rebounds)

Vs. Oregon, Jan. 7, 2021 (12 points, 10 rebounds)

Vs. Stanford, Jan. 16, 2021 (13 points, 12 rebounds)

LOOSE ENDS

–Battey shot .220 on 3-pointers (11-for-50) through his first three seasons at CU. He goes into his final regular season home game with a .508 mark this season (30-for-59). It’s a good season from the arc when you go 3-for-6, as Battey did during Thursday’s loss against Arizona State, and your season percentage actually drops a few decimals.

–Battey won’t have enough attempts to qualify for CU’s all-time single-season 3-point list — those leaders are required to have at least 100 attempts in a season — but if the season ended this week he would be well ahead of all-time leader Levi Knutson (.474 in 2010-11).

–Battey owns a career free throw percentage of .747 (going into Arizona game).

–In two games at the 2021 NCAA Tournament, Battey averaged 8.5 points and 3.0 rebounds, going a combined 6-for-10 from the field. He scored six points in CU’s first-round rout of Georgetown and went 5-for-7 at the free throw line with 11 points when the Buffs were eliminated by Florida State in the second round.

–One of just 14 CU players to record at least 1,200 points alongside at least 600 rebounds. His former teammate and 2017 recruiting classmate McKinley Wright IV also is in that club.

IN THEIR WORDS

Some extra responses from Evan Battey during his senior feature interview (held last week in Berkeley, California), plus a few thoughts from those closest to him.

EVAN BATTEY

Q: Could you have imagined this ending at CU after the forced redshirt and the medical situation as a freshman?

BATTEY: “I wouldn’t say I couldn’t imagine it. When I first got here I was signing to a school that was pretty good in the Pac-12, and I fell in love with the coaching staff and the community of Boulder. I wasn’t so worried about the basketball aspect of it. I felt like I was always going to be taken care of, in that sense. Obviously when I was forced to redshirt, you question what it’s going to do for the future. Then when I had my stroke it was like a big question mark. I didn’t know if I was going to play basketball again. I was going to do my therapy and try to figure it out. But I don’t really know. In that sense, it was hard for me to comprehend the future.

“Coach Boyle from the jump told me I don’t have to play basketball to remain on scholarship here and be a part of this team. I’m thankful for him in that sense. It’s surreal…it’s gratifying, it really is.”

Q: How gratifying was it to have that NCAA Tournament experience last year?

BATTEY: “I looked back at a picture (last week) and it was us all waving to our fans at the Georgetown game. We were still distanced at the time, and the fans were up there going crazy. Buff Nation, all supporting. It was cool to kind of look back on and think, ‘That’s how it should be.’ These past four years, I feel like our best basketball we’ve been playing has been in February, starting the NIT season my first year playing.

“That was the same year as the Norfolk State game. Those little moments…I didn’t deserve to have that kind of love as a 19-year old, my first year playing. That was so cool for me to experience.”

Q: What does it mean to you the way you have been embraced by the entire CU community?

BATTEY: “Boulder is home for me. I made Boulder home, and Boulder has accepted me as a person and an individual as part of the community. The people here is what makes it so great. It’s a beautiful place, but it wouldn’t be anything without the people. I think the people in Boulder and the people involved in my everyday life — my coaching, my academics, my weight lifting — they’re all really great people. I’m definitely going to miss them. I’ll always come back, though. One day I’m going to be the head coach here. I’ve got to keep manifesting that. I feel like that’s my mission.”

Q: Did you ever consider moving on when your classmates scattered after last season? Did you think about using your extra COVID season next year, here or elsewhere?

BATTEY: “No. I can’t play elsewhere. It’s either pro or go into coaching at this point. I just can’t play for another school. There’s something about the name I wear on my chest. It’s home. It’s really home. I can’t give that type of love and that type of effort and give, really, that type of heart to any other school. As far as returning here for a sixth year (laughs)…no. It’s time to move on and grow outside of this space. This space, I love it. But growth comes from discomfort. I’ve got to get outside of myself and get more in the world and see things and see places and just experience some things that allow me to have more of an understanding of life and will help me when I come back and I’m coaching here.”

Q: How much will this season, being the only senior on the floor with a young team, help you when that coaching career begins?

BATTEY: “You just see things that you didn’t really see as a youngster. You recognize things. My approach to the game in my first year playing here and my fourth year playing here is totally different. I see things differently. Coaching is not really about Xs and Os. Everybody has Xs and Os. The great coaches are the ones that are really personable, that can relate to their players, that can have their players buy in to what they’re trying to accomplish. The total buy-in part is a huge thing. Coach Boyle is a perfect example. He’s demanding of us. He never wronged us in any way, but he holds us to a standard. That’s the type of coach I want to be.”

Q: Your collegiate career has occurred during a time of increased social awareness. You’ve been very active in non-basketball matters on campus. How have you evolved into a leader not just on the team, but across campus?

BATTEY: “As you get older, you start understanding things more. The key to, I think, social issues, the key to understanding these things is empathy. If you want to understand, you’ve got to put yourself in other people’s shoes. I’ve kind of been doing that my whole career, just putting myself in other people’s shoes so I can understand what they’re going through. That’s helped me a lot. I’m going to keep doing that and keep finding my voice. But when I leave here, I want somebody to take my voice and still stand up for things that are right.”

KEESHAWN BARTHELEMY (CU Buffs redshirt sophomore guard)

“He’s our guy. He’s been our leader vocally and he also leads by example. The first thing is that he leads by his voice, but he’s more by example than anybody else I’ve seen in this program. He’s probably one of the most unselfish guys I’ve played with. We’re going to try to get some wins for him this weekend.”

TAD BOYLE (CU Buffs head coach)

On Battey’s 3-point shooting this season: “That’s what our young guys need to see. He saw it with George King. George King did that. Before practice, after practice, by himself. There’s no secret formula for success. It’s not rocket science. You put in the time, you put in the work, the results will come.”

On Battey’s last homestand: “I try not to (think about it) because I get emotional. I do find myself, sometimes when I’m driving in my car to work, or home from work or whenever, and I start thinking about it, I try to get away from it pretty quick because it’s not a pleasant thought in my mind. But, there’s nothing that will be better than to send him out in style this weekend with two wins, not just one. Evan has meant a lot to this program and to me and his teammates.”

ROSALIND LEWIS (Evan Battey’s mother and CU game day fixture)

On what comes next for Rosalind: “I don’t know if sorrow is the right word…I don’t know what I’m going to do once this is over. I love the new, young team. I want to keep my pulse on them and come back and see them play. I don’t want this to be my exit from Boulder. Transitions are hard.”

On how Evan has been embraced by Buffs fans: “I was talking to someone after the Stanford game, and I told them that my grandma, when (Evan) was young, told me that just the way he is, she understood that he got people. That he got the connections. He’s always been that person who cared for others, looked out for others. I could tell story after story after story where he has demonstrated that. From a kid of like eight or nine up until now. It’s just who he is. He makes people feel good. You can’t teach that. It’s just him. I just can’t be more proud of the man he’s grown in to.”

On watching Evan shoot over 50 percent from 3-point range this year: “It’s funny. When he was in his junior year of high school, the last year he played in high school, his high school coach said about him that he’s a big man who can shoot the three. Then he had a couple years he didn’t play and I think it took him a while to remember that he was the same kid in high school that could shoot the three. I’m so happy to see him doing it.”

On how tough Senior Night will be for mom: “Oh my god, I’m thinking of wearing sunglasses and my mask so you can’t see the tears streaming down my face.”

KJ SIMPSON (CU Buffs freshman guard)

On Battey’s leadership: “Evan has done so much in terms of not only helping the team, but help myself grow. He’s been nothing but a big bro. I know that his presence and the stuff he talks about are going to stay way after him. He’s just really meant everything. He’s really the sole reason why we’ve always stuck together. We know how bad all the seniors want it, but especially him. And he wants it just as bad for us, even with it being his last year. We’re going to miss him for sure.

“Honestly, I’ve stayed close to him after we’ve lost. One loss, I remember we sat in the locker room emotional, just trying to figure stuff out. He was picking me up and he was by my side. He had his arm around me and he was always being vocal, talking. He was never quiet. That’s something that I have to develop, because I know this team is going to need a lot of leadership with him leaving. What I’ve seen from him the most is just how he’s always pulling people together.”

JABARI WALKER (CU Buffs sophomore forward)

“I talk about it all the time — he’s the best leader I’ve ever been around. He’s a vocal leader. He leads by example. Always has energy. Does the little stuff. But I think it starts with energy, and that’s what Ev does.”

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