Busting Brackets

Gonzaga Basketball: Takeaways from pickup of Arkansas transfer Khalif Battle

Vanderbilt v Arkansas
Vanderbilt v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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What does Battle bring to Gonzaga Basketball?

The Bulldogs had plenty of top-end talent in the starting lineup last season, led by the frontcourt duo of Anton Watson and Graham Ike. The backcourt didn’t have as much depth once Steele Venters went down, as freshman guard Dusty Stromers had to play big minutes. In fact, Gonzaga was at its best when it used a 3-big lineup, having Watson and Ben Gregg playing together.

That won’t be an issue this time around, regardless of Venters' health. Battle is a proven double-digit scorer at the Power Conference level, shooting 35% from deep in his career. He’s also great at getting to the free throw line, coming off 6.7 attempts per game at 87% FT shooting. Battle can get to the line and create his own offense, something that the Bulldogs lacked last season.

Once again, Gonzaga was one of the best shooting teams from the field (2nd nationally at 52%) and went from being awful from deep in the non-con to a top-100 team after WCC play. More importantly, Battle gives them another capable guard, allowing them not to rely solely upon Hickman and Nembhard, who played nearly 40 mpg in the important games.

What also makes Battle unique is that he’s used to being a 6th Man during his days at Arkansas and Temple. He very well can do the same thing at Gonzaga, while still getting 25+ mpg and thriving against WCC foes, while also being on a top-10 caliber roster for next season.