Utah F Riley Battin: We Are Going To Win Some Serious Games This Year
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – University of Utah Runnin’ Utes forward Riley Battin is excited for the upcoming season with his new coaches and teammates.
Riley Battin first entered the transfer portal shortly after Larry Krystkowiak was fired as the Utah basketball head coach. After Craig Smith was hired, Battin rejoined the team.
KSL Sports caught up with Battin at the Powder League game on Tuesday night as he was set to compete in the second game of the evening.
First thing Battin was asked was his reaction to the firing of Larry Krystkowiak.
“It came as a shock,” Battin told KSL Sports. “There wasn’t any rumors swirling. Ultimately, it just gave me time to think things through and look for options moving forward. I love how everything is going now. I am still really excited to be a part of the program and the new coach staff is awesome.”
— Riley Battin (@battin_riley) March 31, 2021
Riley Battin’s Transfer Portal Experience, Returning To Utah, Adjusting To New Staff
Battin explained why he went into the transfer portal shortly after the coaching change.
“There was a lot of uncertainty about what was going to happen,” Battin stated. “I wanted to cover all of my bases. I went into the portal to field all of my options. Ultimately, I wanted to stay at the U. I love the coaches and we have a great relationship. It was really a no-brainer at that point to take my name out and stay.”
It was a really simple process to convince Battin to stay. Smith and Battin had one conversation which led to Battin pulling his name out of the portal.
“Utah State had some interest in the portal so we kind of had a mutual interest there,” Battin mentioned. “I heard nothing but great things about the staff through the people around the game. It was really quick. He (Craig Smith) told me what he thought about me and it was something that I loved so it was a really easy decision.”
The Runnin’ Utes have seen plenty of players from last season enter the portal and leave, including Timmy Allen, Ian Martinez, Pelle Larsson, Mikael Jantunen (turning pro), Alfonso Plummer and Rylan Jones.
“It’s really their decision, all you can do is wish them good luck,” said Battin. “I know the guys that we have on the team right now are all great and hungry. We are going to win some games this year that’s what I can tell you for sure.”
One of the players who left two years ago was Both Gach. He recently announced that he is returning to the Utes program. Battin is thrilled to have him back.
“I love it, Both was my guy,” Battin stated. “He had to leave for his own reasons but it’s great to have him back. We have a great relationship.”
With so many new faces, Battin has been pleased with the chemistry they are building so far through summer workouts.
“It’s going really well,” Battin said. “The chemistry is really clicking. A lot of the guys that coach brought in are great people. They are people that you want to hang out with which makes it really easy. At this point right now, we have some of the best chemistry of teams that Utah has had since I have been here and it’s only been a couple of weeks with everyone here. It’s a step in the right direction.”
One of the differences in head coaches is the energy that Craig Smith consistently brings each day. Battin said it’s contagious.
“For sure and it’s contagious,” Battin said. “It transfers over to us as players. He is the type of guy that you want to play for and is the type of guy that you want to lay your life on the line for to win some games. He is a great leader and I love being a part of his squad.”
At the end of the interview, Battin had a message for all of the Utah fans.
“Be patient,” Battin stated. We are going to win some serious games this year. We are working hard. We are grinding in the summer right now. I think we are going to surprise a lot of people. I would stay tuned for sure.”
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