Evan Battey is more than ready to take the next step in his basketball journey. And he might very well follow in the footsteps of another recent Colorado big man to start his professional career.
Although nothing is official, Battey is mulling several offers to play overseas, most notably in Japan. Recently, former Buffaloes star Josh Scott, who has forged a commendable career in Japan and earned all-star honors last season, offered a few words of advice for Battey.
Scott recently was on campus at CU, at one point giving current big man Lawson Lovering a few pointers. He also shared a lunch with Battey and 7-footer Dallas Walton, another former Buff looking to start his professional career.
“We all connected and had lunch, and Dallas is kind of on the same path as me right now,” Battey said. “I can’t say anything for sure yet, but Greece and Japan right now are the main ones.”
Battey wrapped up his CU career in March as one of just 14 players in program history to record at least 1,200 points alongside at least 600 rebounds. One of the most popular CU players in recent history, Battey averaged 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds as a senior this past season. He displayed remarkable improvement as a long-range shooter, entering his final year with a career 3-point mark of .220 (11-for-50) before leading the Pac-12 with a .488 3-point percentage (42-for-86).
After redshirting as a true freshman and suffering a stroke in December of 2017, Battey did not miss a single game over his four-year playing career, starting all 97 games for the Buffs over his final three seasons.
Battey had several NBA workouts, including sessions with the Knicks, Bulls and Portland and spent the bulk of June training in Miami.
“I just want to keep growing and see how other people live,” Battey said. “I’m not tired of America, but I do want to get away and see life elsewhere.”
Among the players CU’s Tad Boyle coached while leading the U.S. U18 team to the Americas Championship in Mexico earlier this month was incoming Oregon recruit Kel’el Ware.
A dynamic 7-footer out of Arkansas, Ware is ranked as the No. 9 recruit in the 2022 class by 247Sports. He is the No. 2 overall incoming recruit in the Pac-12, trailing only incoming UCLA guard Amari Bailey (No. 7). Ware was a force for Boyle and the Americans in Mexico earlier this month, recording 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots in a semifinal win against Argentina before posting 21 points and six rebounds in the gold medal victory against Brazil.
“Very talented. Very efficient,” Boyle said. “There were a couple games where I thought maybe Kel’el didn’t play very well, then you look at the box score and he has 18 points and eight rebounds and three blocked shots. So he’s a very efficient player. The good news is I don’t think he’s going to be at Oregon very long. But he’s a handful. We’ll have to be ready for him.”
Jabari Walker, selected in the second round (57th overall) of last week’s NBA Draft by Portland, will have a few former CU teammates to compete against in the NBA Summer League, which begins July 7 in Las Vegas. Former CU wing D’Shawn Schwartz, who spent his final, extra season at George Mason, is set to play for the Knicks. Former Buffs forward Jeriah Horne agreed to a deal with Sacramento. Horne was a key component of CU’s 2021 NCAA Tournament team after transferring from Tulsa, then returned to Tulsa this past year for his extra season of eligibility.