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PIKEVILLE — Charles B. Aycock High senior boys basketball standout Eli Batts deems it logical that everyone knows about Barton College’s 2007 NCAA Division II National Championship men’s basketball team.
Batts has played the game with Bulldogs’ 2007 superstar, Division II All-American and current Harlem Globetrotter Anthony Atkinson.
He’s been on the court with and ate meals with several Barton players. Batts has been attached to Bulldogs basketball since he attended camps as a youth.
And in 2018-19, Batts, the son of Mandi Batts of Stantonsburg, will be a member of veteran head coach Ron Lievense’s team.
During Friday afternoon’s signing ceremony for four CBA athletes in the school’s new gymnasium, the 6-foot-2, 165-pound Batts announced he has been guaranteed a spot on next season’s team and will receive a healthy academic scholarship package.
Batts, who expects to be utilized as a combo guard at the collegiate level, chose Barton over the University of Mount Olive, Averett College, Guilford, Wake Tech and Mid-Atlantic Christian University (Elizabeth City).
“I liked the atmosphere and the coaches,” Batts said of deciding upon Barton. “I like the campus and I played some with the players. I liked how they did things and how they run things. Barton is only 20 minutes from where I live, and I didn’t want to get too far away from home.”
The possessor of a 3.9 grade-point average, Batts intends to pursue a degree in exercise science.
CBA’s offense centered around Batts his senior season, and he responded by averaging 16 points per game, connecting on 30 shots from 3-point range and sinking 70 percent of his free throws.
Golden Falcons rebounding and assists statistics were not kept, but fourth-year head coach Dave Elmore estimates Batts, hampered by ankle injuries as a junior and senior, averaged at least five assists and six rebounds per contest. The three-year varsity starter was named All-Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference as a junior and senior and was his team’s most valuable player. He landed The Wilson Times All-Area acclaim as a senior.
“He’s a very smart basketball player,” Elmore described Batts.”He has a very high basketball IQ. He doesn’t try to do too much, but he’s a natural scorer. He’s very savvy _ he knows how to score. At Barton, he will settle into a role and fit in very nicely.”
Along with scoring, Batts excels as a ball-handler and passer. When the situation arises, he mimics the skills of the late and great Pete Maravich. Batts assured he’s extremely fond of viewing Maravich action clips.
The Barton recruit praises the training he received from his late father, noting: “my dad taught me everything; he taught me to work hard.”
Batts emphasizes he doesn’t know what to expect at the next level, but declares: “I’m a hard worker and I think that will pay off eventually. By my senior year, I hope I earn playing time and will be a big-time factor. I just want to contribute any way I can.”
The CBA standout is no different from most aspiring players that he harbored Division I dreams.
“I love basketball because of the game, the travel and being around teammates,” Batts commented. “I like playing in front of people. I don’t care for a lot of attention but, when I’m playing ball, I love it.”
“I’m blessed to go to Division II and have my schooling paid for. I just feel really blessed and thankful. A lot of people don’t get this opportunity and I will try to not take it for granted.”