Louisville basketball: What Khalif Battle and Skyy Clark have in common

Feb 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Temple Owls guard Khalif Battle (0) reacts after scoring against the Houston Cougars in the first half at The Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Temple Owls guard Khalif Battle (0) reacts after scoring against the Houston Cougars in the first half at The Liacouras Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /

Kenny Payne and the Louisville basketball program had one of the most successful recruiting weeks in a long time last week and it appears the roster overhaul is not yet complete. The ball began rolling for the 2023-2024 season all the way back in September 2021, when four-star small forward Kaleb Glenn committed to the University of Louisville.

Now, six commitments and five transfer portal entries later, the Louisville basketball roster will look vastly different than it did last year. Kamari Lands, Fabio Basili, Devin Ree, Roosevelt Wheeler, and Sydney Curry have all announced their decisions to leave Louisville, which allowed opportunities for guys like Kaleb Glenn, Curtis Williams Jr., Koron Davis, Dennis Evans, Skyy Clark, and Trentyn Flowers to come in and suit up in the Cardinal red and white.

Louisville still has one scholarship opening left at this time, unless Jae’Lyn Withers decides to enter the transfer portal and El Ellis makes a decision to forego his last available season. But, that remains to be seen.

At present, Kenny Payne has reached out to many athletes in the transfer portal and one of them is former Temple combo guard Khalif Battle, according to On3’s Joe Tipton.

Khalif Battle is a 6-foot-5, 175-pound shooting guard and former four-star recruit out of New Jersey who committed to the Butler Bulldogs out of high school. In May 2018, he received four Crystal Ball predictions to join then-Head Coach LaVall Jordan at Butler University.

In November 2018, he signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Butler, and while there he played in 24 games, but did not crack the starting lineup for any of them. He only averaged 3.0 points a game during his freshman season, and after the season he decided to transfer to a different school.

In April 2020, he announced his commitment to Temple University and has played there for the last three seasons.

Last year, Battle declared for the NBA Draft, but two months later he decided to withdraw his name from the draft and head back to college. Now, he has entered his name into the transfer portal once more and is being pursued by Division I programs all across the country.

However, his depature from Temple has left some people with questions and created a lot of speculation across social media. As of March 3rd, it was reported that he was no longer with the team, and hadn’t been since the Owls’ loss to Wichita State on February 16th.

And this is exactly the same type of story that came out about Skyy Clark. In March of this year, it was announced that Skyy Clark was stepping away from the Illinois basketball program mid-season, which seemed unusual at the time but once the information came out that he stepped away to help nurse his dad back to health, then the thought was confirmed that there are indeed things that are bigger than basketball.

In March 2023, Temple guard Khalif Battle stepped away from the program mid-season and has now entered the transfer portal, much like Skyy Clark.

Skyy Clark and Khalif Battle have both come out against the false social media narratives that described them as a “quitter.”

And both of these athletes have been tied to Louisville: one recently committed and one has been contacted by the Louisville staff. If Khalif Battle does end up following Skyy Clark to Louisville, Kenny Payne could arguably have the best backcourt in the ACC. Last season at Temple, Battle averaged 17.9 points per game and can shoot at will.

The bridge between the two gets wider because Khalif Battle recently retweeted the announcement of Skyy Clark’s commitment to Louisville and so it’s very possible that Kenny Payne could be set on handing out his last available scholarship to the college basketball veteran.

Social media is famous for jumping the gun in assuming what is false and so before one can assume, it is better to have all of the facts. And it seems to be the case in this Khalif Battle situation.