March 29, 2021: Former George Washington forward and DeLaSalle standout Jamison Battle has announced he will be playing for the Gophers next season.
By: Tony Liebert
— Ben Johnson (@CoachBenJohnson) March 30, 2021
What just happened:
6-foot-7-inch sophomore forward Jamison Battle has committed to the University of Minnesota after two seasons at George Washington. Battle, a Minneapolis, Minn. native is coming off a season where he averaged 17.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Newly-appointed head coach Ben Johnson has lived up to his billing as an elite in-state recruiter — bringing in arguably the most talented Minnesota-born talent in the transfer portal.
— Jamison Battle™ ♛ (@battletime510) March 30, 2021
Wow! That is how you make a statement Ben Johnson. Less than a week after his opening press conference, Johnson has already proved why he was hired. Jamison Battle was arguably the biggest fish in the MN-born pound for this transfer portal cycle, and Johnson reeled him in.
Johnson will have quite the task of building a competitive roster for next season, as five Gophers players (Carr, Masburn Jr., Williams, Freeman and Omersa) have already entered the transfer portal. There is no telling if the departures are yet over, but Johnson is off to one hell of a start building this roster back up. There are plenty more very interesting options to go after, but as a fan myself I couldn’t have asked for a better start. Well done.
Who is Jamison Battle:
Jamison Battle is a former DeLaSalle High School standout, the same school that was home to Ben Johnson during his playing days. Battle led the Islanders to the Class 3A State Title as a senior, averaging 21.2 points and 9.0 rebounds while earning second-team all-state honors alongside current Dallas Maverick guard Tyrell Terry. The Mr. Basketball semi-finalist also helped the Islanders reach the state semifinals as a junior. He played his AAU ball for the uberly talented D1 Minnesota.
The 6-foot-7 forward was very under-recruited out of high school, sporting a handful of mid-major offers. Battle opted to head to George Washington where he would make an instant impact. As a freshman, he averaged 11.8 points-per-game, playing in 35.8 minutes per contest. After earning a spot on the A-10 all-freshman team Battle entered his sophomore season with serious expectations. He lived up to them, averaging 17.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 36.5 minutes per game.
The Gophers are getting a score-first option forward who can play the three and even small-ball four. Battle shot 35.4% from deep and 47.5% from the field last season proving that he is an efficient scorer. Based on pure speculation, I would imagine that Battle will be a main option for Johnson’s team next season, as all transfers are now immediately eligible.
What is next:
The transfer portal is currently flooded with talent born in the state of Minnesota. The list is led by Parker Fox (Northern State), Ish El-Amin (Ball St.), Race Thompson (Indiana) and Nate Reuvers (Wisconsin). Johnson will have plenty of roster flexibility going forward with at least six scholarship players leaving with as many as eight total.
As a Minnesota-kid myself that knows all of that basketball talent that this state has had, does have and will have I have been leading the charge of keeping talent in-state. With that being said I am very interested to see how far Ben Johnson goes on that component. I am all for having a team full of Minnesota kids, but I am curious if he feels the same way.