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MACsketball Greatest of All Time Tourney: Buffalo

Your summer reading series just keeps chugging along. Our first three parts introduced you to competitors from Akron, Bowling Green, and Ball State. This time we head Northeast for a man who is a bit of an outlier, in several ways.

Battle is credited with being the driving force that turned the Bulls from a 17-39 team his first two seasons to a 40-22 team in the second half of his playing career. I'm assuming it is because of various intangibles, because the odds are fairly low of Buffalo winning 35% more games in his second two years because his scoring average went up three points per game (he was otherwise pretty consistently average during his playing career - 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists per game in three years of full-time starting).

Granted, there is not a lot to be done when you are the best player in a mediocre program. Battle bookended his career by being the first Bull ever to make the conference all-freshman team, and ended it as MAC Player of the Year and three-time team MVP.

These are exactly the kind of guys that are just not quite good enough to make it to the NBA. Battle may have been good enough to at least grab a foothold in the NBDL if the size of the league had doubled when he graduated in '05 instead of the following year when he was already headed out of town - way out of town.

After his collegiate career ended, Battle spent the 2005-06 season playing professionally both locally (with the Buffalo Rapids) as well as around the world in Estonia, France and Sweden. After an arm injury put a halt to his playing time, Battle spent time in Buffalo close to the Bulls’ program, while also getting his coaching career started at Sweet Home High School. Battle is now heading into his sixth season as an assistant on the UB staff.