Batt is making an early impact
New Ulm High School graduate Joey Batt’s game has translated well to the Division II level at Minnesota State University, Mankato
And through the first 10 games of the season, Batt has done just that. By no means has it been easy for her, but the 5-foot-5 graduate from New Ulm High School is finding ways to get it done for the 7-3 Mavericks (as of Dec. 23), who are sitting with a 4-2 record in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Batt is averaging 7.1 points in 17 minutes per game. She hasn’t started a game yet, but she’s getting plenty of playing time thanks in part to her aggressiveness with the ball, her passing and her shooting 43% from the floor. She’s also averaging 2.6 rebounds per game.
At New Ulm, she was a scorer who could shoot from both inside and drive to the basket. She finished her five-year varsity career at NUHS with 2,301 points, which is the city record for points in both boys’ and girls’ basketball. At the Division II level, she’s not being asked to provide the scoring load, which is something new for her.
“My game from high school has definitely evolved,” she said. “I’m not shooting the ball as much as I did in high school, but I am still being as aggressive in college basketball as I was in high school.”
Without a doubt, her ballhandling skills have led to significant playing time. Her speed has also been a huge asset for her in a game that is much faster at the college level.
“Division II is a lot faster pace than high school ball,” she said. “All of the girls in Division II are stronger, faster, and have the ability to play really smart and good basketball.”
She’s gotten plenty of support from the older players on the team. That has helped her make the transition right away and it’s helped her confidence quite a bit.
“The transition from high school to Division II basketball has been really smooth for me,” she said. “The upper class girls on my team have been tremendous with helping me and the other freshman know what to expect and how to handle everything.”
Batt’s high school career began as an eighth-grader. She and fellow guard Meleah Reinhart teamed up to form one of the best guard combos in the state. Reinhart is now at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. Batt, meanwhile, became a prolific scorer and was sought after by many college coaches before picking MSU last year.
Batt is also one of many former MN Rise AAU basketball players in the area that are playing college basketball. She said that playing for the Rise and coach Dan Wolfe impacted her game.
“Playing MN Rise was a huge help in my development as a basketball player,” she said. “Dan Wolfe was always pushing me and is part of the reason I am here today. Playing against some of the best players from all over the United States was an amazing experience and motivated me to try and be one of the best.”
Now that she’s playing against the best on a game-by-game basis, she has recognized some things she needs to work on. She’s constantly working to get better and that won’t change anytime soon.
“Some of my goals this season would just be to expand my game even more to fit the Division II level,” she said. “Getting my shot off faster is a huge one and finishing at the rim better. The rest of my career I just want to keep getting better every season and every game. Push myself to the best I can possibly be and hopefully that leads the team to conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances.”
She also said that she needs to work hard off the court too.
“The weight room is a huge focus in our basketball program, which helps with finishing at the rim, getting faster, expanding my range,” she said.
Batt has enjoyed the challenge of college basketball this year. It’s even more fun that her teammates have the same passion for the game that she does.
“Just been playing with my teammates that have the same drive and determination as me in basketball,” she said. “Every game we go out and compete with each team we play. Everyone gets excited and cheers for everything that happens in the game and it’s a great environment to be around my team.”