Talor Battle and Evan Turner: BFFs

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By Paul M. Banks

The Big Ten’s talent is concentrated at the point guard position, junior class. And two of the most talented guys who fit in at both categories (Ohio State’s Evan Turner and Penn State’s Talor Battle) also happen to be very good friends.

At Media Day before the season started, Battle told me about his relationship with his fellow 2009 All-Big Ten first team member. “Evan Turner playing the point guard. I was just downstairs laughing- he’s a good friend of mine. He’s been texting me all summer, I’m a point guard now, I hope you can guard a 6’7” point guard, so there’s a lot of depth at point guard in this league. It’s an interesting league,” the Naismith, Wooden and Cousy Award candidate said.

Their friendship grew out of their time together on the U.S. World University Games team. The duo were joined by other premier Big Ten talent -Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, and Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan was Head Coach- as they represented Team USA. Overseas, Battle led the team in scoring (10.0 ppg) and three-point shooting (13) on the way to a bronze medal performance in Serbia last July.

Battle saw his game expand and confidence continue to grow as he continued his develop following a season in which he led the nation in minutes played. Through the first four games of Big Ten play, Battle has played every minute except three. “It was a great experience, but it might have worn me out a little bit. Guys have been keying in on me defensively, I heard Bruce Weber all game yelling wherever I was at, I felt like he was guarding me,” Battle told me after I caught up to him again, this time in Champaign following a 54-53 loss to the Illini.

On this night, the Illini defense clamped down on Battle and he struggled with a 4-19 shooting night. Meanwhile in West Lafayatte, his two Team USA teammates had career nights. Turner scored a career high 32 points, and Hummel had a career best 35 as the Buckeyes stunned the #6 Boilermakers.

“I spoke to him {Turner} today, we just got done with shootaround and he told me we need to win, and I said you’re in the same predicament as us, all summer when we were out there at Mackey (Arena)- every game you guys cheat, the refs cheat for you, so I’m sure he’ll call me tomorrow, I’m sure he’s as enthused as can be…I heard Robbie Hummel had a big night too, a couple of my teammates playing well, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty to talk about,” Battle said when I brought up Evan’s big night.

So with all these good vibes together on the court this past summer, what’s it like when conference season comes along?

“We’re friends off the court, the balls tips up- ain’t nobody friends and that goes out the window. We’re enemies for that 40 minutes,” Battle stated.

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Comments

  1. they’re enemies for 60 minutes? how about 40?

  2. paulmbanks says

    That’s funny cuz he did say 60, then corrected himself saying 40. I need to fix that.

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