Khalif Battle’s Projected Output at Gonzaga Next Season is Shockingly Low

Khalif Battle, Gonzaga basketball, Arkansas basketball, Tramon Mark, transfer portal
photo credit: Craven Whitlow / Tipton Edits/On3

Not a single player who logged a minute the last time Arkansas basketball was on the court in March is still on the roster as of this writing.

Exit Eric Musselman.

Enter John Calipari.

Some of last year’s key contributors ended up being one-year rentals (Tramon Mark, Khalif Battle), one was a NCAA Tournament legend in Davonte ‘Devo’ Davis and another was a freshman with a promising upside from Little Rock (Layden Blocker). 

The only player still on the Razorbacks that was there last year is a walk-on from Fayetteville in Lawson Blake.

Now Calipari is retooling the roster the way he sees fit, and all of those players Musselman brought to Arkansas have gone elsewhere.

Let’s take a look into our crystal ball and see what their statistical futures may bear out at their new institutions.

Top Arkansas Transfers Find New Homes

Khalif Battle – Gonzaga

Khalif Battle heads to Spokane to play for one of college basketball’s best in Mark Few, who has built one of the most consistent winners for the last 20-plus years.

Gonzaga basketball, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2023-24 before losing to Purdue, returns four of its five starters. It also added Pepperdine transfer Michael Ajayi ahead of taking Battle.

Battle will obviously get playing time off the bench, but it’s hard to see him making near the impact that he did with Arkansas a year ago. He probably will get spot action or play if the Bulldogs’ starting guards are in foul trouble.

Ryan Nembhard and Steele Venters, along with Ajayi and former 4-star Dusty Stromer, are likely to see the lion’s share of the minutes in the backcourt at the 2 and the 3.

Of course everyone remembers Battle going nuclear at the end of last year after battling some mid-season injuries. Maybe that was from Musselman just scrapping what he’d been trying to do offensively and just letting the team play. Or, perhaps, it was Battle deciding to finally show what he was capable of when the season was already essentially over as the team was eliminated from any at-large consideration and there was nothing to lose.

In that five-game stretch to close the year, Battle went off against a winless Missouri, the next worst team in Vanderbilt, Kentucky (who was awful defensively), LSU and Alabama.

Gonzaga basketball coach Mark Few must think he can get some of the ability Battle shows in the below video or he wouldn’t have taken him, but I just don’t see him taking the West Coast Conference by storm.

Predicted totals: 7.6 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.4 ASG, 0.9 SPG

Tramon Mark – Texas

The former Houston Cougar and Texan native will undoubtedly have a featured role in the Longhorns’ backcourt in 2024-25.

It’s hard to see Rodney Terry bringing him in to sit on the bench, especially with the graduation of Max Abmas and the loss of Dillon Mitchell and others. What the intriguing thing for Arkansas basketball fans will be is with Texas entering the Southeastern Conference, they will get to face him at least once.

Possibly even twice, depending on how they do the schedule. Mark will most likely be a starter, along with Chendall Weaver and McDonald’s All-American Tre Johnson.

Regardless, Mark will be heavily featured. In the announcement that Mark had selected Texas as his transfer destination, the Longhorns’ website listed his career point total in the headline.

Predicted totals: 14.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.7 ASG, 1.1 SPG

Devo Davis – Oklahoma State

No matter what happens in Stillwater, nothing can ever take away the memories that Davonte Davis gave Razorback fans in March.

The game-winning shot against Oral Roberts as a freshman, his defense on Mac McClung the game prior in that tournament, or the hero-ball second half virtuoso against Kansas in 2023 will forever remain in Hog lore.

New Cowboys head coach Steve Lutz is looking to change the culture and get Oklahoma State basketball back to its roots, playing the kind of defense that would make Henry Iba and Eddie Sutton proud. 

Davis had, prior to last year’s falling off a cliff routine, been an above-average defender, albeit usually in a matador style, and isn’t shy about getting out in passing lanes and denying people the ball. 

Cowboys fans are banking on him returning to the form he’d shown in the three seasons that resulted in deep NCAA Tournament runs and his extensive collegiate experience will help Lutz tremendously in Year 1.

Predicted totals: 8.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.3 SPG.

Layden Blocker – DePaul

Layden Blocker is following the Darious Hall path – be a standout Little Rock native who gets fans excited about your freshman season, then transfer to DePaul.

DePaul hired Chris Holtmann in March to get the Blue Demons back on track. A once proud program in the Big East, the private Chicago university hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2004.

After spending a year at a prep school, Blocker came into the 2023-24 with a plethora of hype. He had some success early, especially in the Bahamas tournament and against Duke, but somehow got in Musselman’s doghouse and by the end of the year, finished his season with five consecutive DNPs.

Holtmann most likely has a plan in place for Blocker, who averaged 3.7 points and 1.6 rebounds as a freshman.

Assuming he builds off last season, he should get more steady minutes and eclipse those totals as a Blue Demon.

Predicted totals: 6.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.2 SPG.

Other Arkansas Basketball Transfers

A few other former Hogs also found new homes recently, as Baye Fall is now at Kansas State and Joseph Pinion is in Jonesboro at Arkansas State, where he will reunite with a former high school adversary and teammate with Arkansas in Derrian Ford.

Pinion will get the green light to shoot when he plays, and may even compete for a starting spot. His defense will probably be the thing that either keeps him on or off the court, but in the Sun Belt, there won’t be nearly the same number of mismatches in which was targeted in SEC play.

Also, Denijay Harris is transferring back to Southern Miss after one season with the Razorbacks in which he received minimal playing time. That leaves only Keyon Menifield, Trevon Brazile and walk-on Cade Arbogast as former Arkansas basketball players still in the transfer portal.

However, it’s worth noting that Brazile likely only entered as a backup plan in case things don’t pan out with the NBA Draft and Menifield has eligibility concerns that could hinder him finding a new home.


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