High-scoring Arkansas transfer Khalif Battle announces commitment to Gonzaga (2024)

Khalif Battle amassed 1,343 points the last five seasons at Butler, Temple and Arkansas, averaging an astounding 29.6 points through the final seven games of the 2023-24 season with the Razorbacks.

Battle’s next points will come in a Gonzaga uniform after the coveted transfer guard announced a commitment to the Bulldogs early Sunday evening, a few days after wrapping up an official visit to Spokane.

Late last week, Battle told On3.com he’d narrowed his list down to three schools – Gonzaga, Kansas State and Villanova – and reports suggested the guard spent the last few days deciding between the Bulldogs and Big 12 Wildcats.

At approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday, Battle posted a graphic to his Instagram account containing a photoshopped image of the guard wearing a white No. 0 Gonzaga jersey and the words “Zag Up.”

Moments after Battle’s commitment, Gonzaga acknowledged the news by posting its customary “Zags got dudes” video to X – a clip used whenever the program lands a high school recruit or transfer.

Battle’s addition solidifies Gonzaga as a preseason top-10 team and heightens expectations that the Bulldogs could return to the Final Four for the first time since 2021 and potentially vie for the program’s first-ever national championship.

Last week, shortly before the transfer portal closed, Gonzaga confirmed that six of its seven rotational players from last season would return in 2024-25, including four of five starters: Ryan Nembhard, Nolan Hickman, Ben Gregg and Graham Ike.

Few and his coaching staff will spend the next five months deciding how Battle figures into the equation.

The 6-foot-5 guard was Arkansas’ second-leading scorer last season, despite starting in just 13 of 32 games for the Razorbacks, who failed to qualify the NCAA Tournament in Eric Musselman’s final season with the SEC program. Musselman’s departure from Arkansas to USC prompted Battle to enter the transfer portal and seek out a fifth school for his sixth and final season of college eligibility.

Whether the Zags maneuver pieces around to open up a spot for Battle in the starting unit or rely on him as a scoring threat off the bench, the Hillside, New Jersey, native gives GU a level of depth they didn’t have last year – particularly in the backcourt – and have possibly had on only a couple of occasions during Few’s tenure.

Along with the aforementioned returners, the Zags bring back top reserves Braden Huff and Dusty Stromer, and add Steele Venters back into the fold after the former Eastern Washington standout missed all of last season with an ACL injury. Gonzaga also acquired Pepperdine’s Michael Ajayi, the WCC’s top scorer from last season, via the transfer portal. Ajayi is currently testing NBA Draft waters and recently was invited to the Draft Combine.

The 23-yeard-old Battle was a potent scorer at Arkansas, particularly toward the end of the season. Battle scored no fewer than 20 points in his final seven games and had 112 over one three-game SEC stretch against Missouri, Vanderbilt and No. 16 Kentucky.

Battle has been an efficient 3-point shooter late in his career, making 35% from behind the arc each of the last two seasons after connecting on 48% in seven games during the 2021-22 campaign before missing the remainder of the year with an injury.

At 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, Battle also gives the Zags size they didn’t have with the 6-foot Nembhard or the 6-2 Hickman, and he showed a penchant for getting to the free throw line last season, ranking first in the SEC and 36th nationally with 6.7 free throw attempts per game. Battle averaged 12.8 free throw attempts the last eight games of the season, shooting 35 over a two-game stretch against Vanderbilt and Kentucky.

Battle finished the season averaging 14.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game while shooting 40.6% from the field and 35.3% from the 3-point line. During the 2022-23 season with Temple, Battle averaged 17.9 points and 3.6 assists.

With Battle in the fold, the Zags now have three open scholarships if Ajayi elects to return to college rather than pursue the NBA Draft. GU lost only three scholarship players from last year’s team, with Anton Watson using his final year of eligibility in 2023-24 and reserves Luka Krajnovic and Pavle Stosic both entering the transfer portal.

High-scoring Arkansas transfer Khalif Battle announces commitment to Gonzaga (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5772

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.