John Wall Holiday Invitational: Lavar Batts Jr. exercising patience in pursuit of state title repeat

John Wall Holiday Invitational: Lavar Batts Jr. exercising patience in pursuit of state title repeat

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John Wall Holiday Invitational: Lavar Batts Jr. exercising patience in pursuit of state title repeat

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Lavar Batts Jr. said he’s got to remain patient after losing nine players from last season. (Photo: Jason Jordan, USA Today Sports)

Lavar Batts Jr. said he’s got to remain patient after losing nine players from last season. (Photo: Jason Jordan, USA Today Sports)

RALEIGH, N.C. – It’s not that Robinson (Concord, N.C.) point guard Lavar Batts Jr. didn’t anticipate the bull’s-eye that typically accompanies winning a state title the previous season, he just underestimated the degree of difficulty in being the hunted.

“It’s definitely harder to win it the second time around,” said Batts, a VCU signee. “Everyone is coming for you even more than usual.”

Batts handled the pressure well Wednesday, posting 24 points and four rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 66-47 win against Thornlea Secondary School (Thornhill, Ontario) on Wednesday at the John Wall Holiday Invitational.

“It’s a process for us this year,” Batts said. “We all know what the goal is, but I have to remind myself all the time to stay patient.”

Especially since the Bulldogs lost nine players from last year’s state championship team.

Just 10 games in to the season, the Bulldogs already have as many losses as they had all of last season when they finished 29-3.

“It’s been different this year for sure,” Robinson coach Lavar Batts Sr. said. “We’ve got a lot of new guys who just aren’t used to this stage. They’re learning as they go so we have to remember that, but they’ve also got to learn fast and stay consistent.”

In order to achieve that, Batts Jr. said it was imperative that he and his teammates stay on the same page.

“That’s the only way we’re gonna be able to accomplish our goal,” he said. “It’s hard to win one, but we did that last year. Being in tournaments like this are only gonna help us down the road and that’s the best part.

“I feel like we’re growing every time we play. We need that because every team is coming for us and giving us their best shot so that’s what we’ve gotta give them.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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