RaeQuan Battle’s Basketball Journey: From Lopsided Loss to Rising Star

RaeQuan Battle's Basketball Journey From Lopsided Loss to Rising Star

In a touching turn of events, RaeQuan Battle’s brother embarked on a long journey to Texas to witness West Virginia’s clash against the Longhorns earlier this month. Following the game, the two siblings engaged in a heartfelt conversation that made them realize that it had been months since they last saw each other during the Christmas holiday. This realization struck a chord within them, serving as a poignant reminder of how swiftly time passes by.

During their discussion, Battle’s brother imparted a powerful message that left a profound impact on the young athlete. “Year 5. You’re almost done,” he told Battle, emphasizing the fact that there were only seven or eight games remaining in his college basketball career. While the thought of stepping into the real world and having basketball evolve from a sport into a profession might seem daunting to some, Battle expressed excitement for the future.

This conversation seemed to have ignited a fire within Battle, propelling him towards a new level of performance on the court. In the three games since that heart-to-heart talk, he has consistently scored over 20 points, averaging an impressive 23.3 points per game. His shooting has been exceptional, with a 22-for-48 field goal percentage, an 8-for-17 three-point shooting percentage, and an 18-for-20 free throw shooting percentage. In the previous seven games, Battle had only made 25 shots, including nine three-pointers and 22 free throws.

Reflecting on his recent improvement, Battle admitted that he had placed unnecessary pressure on himself in the early games of the season, especially after a thrilling victory against Kansas. However, a humbling defeat against UCF served as a valuable lesson for him. It was at that moment that Battle realized he needed to relax and return to playing the game the way he had always known.

Battle’s journey has been far from easy. He faced several obstacles and restrictions that prevented him from playing, but he persevered and triumphed. In late December, he burst onto the scene with impressive performances, scoring 29, 29, and 24 points in three non-conference games. Despite a challenging Big 12 game against Houston, where he only managed one basket, Battle bounced back and averaged 17.5 points in the following four games. His standout performance against the third-ranked Jayhawks showcased his potential, leaving the Mountaineers hopeful for the future.

Yet, Battle encountered setbacks due to his rising profile and success. In the next three games, he struggled to find his rhythm, scoring only five, two, and 10 points in losses against UCF, Oklahoma State, and Cincinnati, respectively. However, Battle refused to let these setbacks define him. He maintained his composure and stayed focused, refusing to let opposing players get into his head. This mental fortitude paid off in the subsequent game against UCF, where Battle scored an impressive 24 points, converting all eight of his free throw attempts.

The first UCF game marked a low point for Battle, but he refused to be disheartened. Despite a lackluster performance against Oklahoma State and the Bearcats, Battle slowly regained his confidence. He took control of the game, playing 31 minutes in both contests and reaching double digits in scoring. In the past three games, Battle has consistently played over 30 minutes, and his plus-minus rating, which measures a player’s impact on the game, has improved significantly.

Head coach Josh Eilert praised Battle’s progress, noting his improved patience and decision-making on the court. Eilert emphasized the importance of letting the game come to Battle, urging him to recognize the best opportunities to attack and when to make selfless plays. By adopting this mindset, Battle has become a force to be reckoned with, constantly in attack mode while simultaneously understanding the importance of timing and teamwork.

As Battle continues to navigate the roller coaster of his college basketball career, he is determined to make the most of his remaining games. With his newfound perspective and resilience, Battle is ready to embrace the challenges that lie ahead, both on and off the court.