Almost every single game, Battle-Holley is collecting a double-double, meaning scoring double figures in points and securing double digits in rebounds.
“He’s rebounding the ball on a crazy level,” said Dickinson head coach Sean Drennan.
“I think after last year, Tyrek has put the entire team on his shoulders and the rest of the team is following suit. He’s gotten much stronger. It started last April in the weight room. We don’t have a big team, so someone has to do the job rebounding. He’s just been more aggressive and has a nose for the ball. He follows shots and has developed an offensive rebounding mentality.”
Try these numbers on: 25 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Hoboken, 20 points and 12 rebounds in a win over McNair Academic and 15 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a win over Ferris. He also collected 15 rebounds in a loss to Union City.
Battle-Holley also had 23 points with eight rebounds against Shabazz and 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals in a loss to Snyder.
Needless to say, Battle-Holley is doing it all.
For his efforts, Battle-Holley has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.
Battle-Holley, who earned Hudson Reporter All-Area Second Team honors last year, has taken on the role of being the leader of the Rams.
“So many times, Coach Drennan has told me that I have to be more of a leader on the floor,” Battle-Holley said. “He tells me I have to be more of a vocal leader. I have to be the ones to put the people in the right positions. I embraced that role. I’m just trying to dominate every single play of the game.”
Drennan likes what Battle-Holley brings to the floor every single day.
“He’s a coach on the floor,” Drennan said. “He’s a lot more vocal now than he has ever been. He’s constantly telling the others what to do and what they’re doing wrong. Sometimes, he’s coaching more than me.”
Battle-Holley believes that the Rams’ fast-paced style is playing into his game, getting points and rebounds.
“We like to push the ball up the court,” Battle-Holley said. “Pushing the ball starts with my position, so I have to have the ball. The break starts with me. The shot goes up I get the ball off the backboard and just go with it. I love to be in the position to rebound. As long as my plays don’t hurt us from winning games, because as a senior, that’s all I think about now.”
Battle-Holley knows that he simply has to play bigger. It’s a necessity with the Rams’ entire roster standing 6-foot-2 or smaller.
“Our team is pretty small,” Battle-Holley said. “We’re a bit undersized. I think I’m one of the tallest guys on the team. So I have to be the main rebounder. I’m constantly going up against a team that has bigger players. I don’t mind it at all. It’s something that I know I have to do.”
Battle-Holley has the backing of his teammates.
“They know that if I start off slow, it motivates my teammates to play harder,” Battle-Holley said.
Drennan is aware of how talented Battle-Holley is.
“In my 11 years of being a coach here, he might be the best overall player I’ve had,” Drennan said. “Not only is he scoring and rebounding, but he’s also playing well defensively. He is great at picking up charges. He must get at least three charges a game. He just gets us going in the right direction. I think his teammates respect how hard he works. They see that he’s giving the effort, then the rest follow.”
There was a time where Drennan and Battle-Holley didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye.
“I think he’s matured over the years,” Drennan said. “It’s all part of the natural maturing process. It took him a while to develop the work ethic he has now. He had to undergo some growing pains. But we’re really close now. We have a great relationship.”
“Because of Coach, I’ve become more of a student of the game,” Battle-Holley said. “Our relationship has grown tighter and more together. I can be a coach on the floor. Sometimes, I can see something and adjust the play on the court. In certain situations, I can be a guard and if a smaller guy is covering me, I’d take advantage of the mismatch.”
Another key is Battle-Holley’s personality.
“He plays with so much emotion,” Drennan said. “He gets so pumped up and fired up. He plays so hard with so much emotion, but I’ve never had an issue with him. He’s a great kid. He’s an extension of me on the floor. I trust him so much with everything. I trust his opinion, because he knows the game so well. He gives us the confidence that we need as a team.”
Drennan firmly believes that Battle-Holley could play on the college level.
“He’s fully qualified,” said Drennan, referring to Battle-Holley’s grades. “He has received a few [NCAA] Division I offers and then some Division IIs. There are junior colleges that have shown some interest. People are getting to know about him. He’s a player. He can score. He can defend and he can rebound.”
Battle-Holley knows that he’s coming to the end of what has been a great high school basketball career.
“I want to go out and play every game like it’s my last game,” Battle-Holley said. “I want to go out with a bang. I know I can play on the college level. I just need a chance.”
Chances are that Battle-Holley will get that chance, but before he does, he still has some damage to cause for the Rams in the month to come. – Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.