For RaeQuan Battle, firing up one of his patented jumpers and entering the college basketball transfer portal elicited a similar result. He couldn't readily connect in either endeavor.
Once his shots stopped falling and his minutes disappeared for the University of Washington, the 6-foot-5 guard from Tulalip, Washington, put his name in the portal and was disappointed by the response.
The one-time 4-star recruit contacted high-level programs that had pursued him coming out of high school and made him a standing offer to talk again if he ever changed schools.
Battle, for the most part, watched these programs ignore him and his messages, possibly scared off by his 24.4-percent shooting percentage from 3-point range with the Huskies. At one point, he wasn't sure he wanted to keep playing basketball.
“This process, I loved it, but it hurt a lot,” Battle told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. “It really opens your eyes to how business-like this game is.”
One of six Huskies to transfer out following a 5-21 season, Battle will play for Montana State, dropping down a level to compete in the Big Sky Conference. He chose the Bobcats after receiving interest from other league members Weber State and Idaho State, plus UNLV.
After two seasons at the UW, he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining with pandemic provisions included. He seems satisfied with Montana State as a place to rebuild his reputation.
“When it came time to finally choose a school, I had to think of where I could strive and where my team could strive at the same time,” Battle said. “Montana State fits my game a lot better.”
After engaging with Bobcats coach Danny Sprinkle and assistant coach Dan Russell, he'll join a team that finished 13-11 and made it to the Big Sky championship game against Eastern Washington.
“He’s got to come here and be humble and continue to work, and he sounds like he is,” Sprinkle said. “Everything he talked about was the team and what we have to do to win a championship. That really went a long way with me and what he’s looking for. I think he’ll be a great fit. He has elite talent.”
Battle said it wasn't easy for him to leave Washington, but he needed to restart his basketball career, especially coming from the Tulalip tribe and wanting to be a role model.
“It’s not too common for people like me to really get to this level and just keep going — that's what drove me,” Battle said. “I thought, ‘If I really want to strive and be who I say I want to be, I’m going to have to go somewhere else.’ ”
In two seasons at the UW, he played in 34 games starting four. He averaged 4.7 points per game, shooting 30 percent from the field and that 24.4 percent behind the arc.
Like all the others who left the Huskies behind, Battle was careful not to bash Mike Hopkins' program, though he had this one curious comment.
“I wanted to be part of a program that if everything goes south our walls are still standing,” Battle said.
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