How Emoni Bates fits at Memphis, and when we'll see him in the NBA

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ESPN 25 August, 2021 - 07:45pm 18 views

Where is emoni Bates going?

Report: Emoni Bates, No. 2 Men's Basketball Prospect in 2022 Class, Commits to Memphis. Emoni Bates, the No. 2 men's basketball prospect in the class of 2022, committed to play for Penny Hardaway's Memphis, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. si.comReport: Emoni Bates, No. 2 Men's Basketball Prospect in 2022 Class, Commits to Memphis

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Emoni Bates announced his commitment to the University of Memphis on Wednesday, ending weeks of speculation about the on-court plans of the prep phenom and No. 3 recruit in ESPN's Top 100 for 2021. Bates -- who as a 15-year-old made headlines when he was compared by scouts to LeBron James and Kevin Durant -- was not previously viewed as a sure thing for college basketball. In addition to Memphis, Oregon and a Michigan State program to which he once committed, Bates was considering the NBA's G League Path. Instead, he'll instantly become one of the faces of college hoops while playing for coach Penny Hardaway and a Tigers team that has become a serious national threat.

ESPN tackled the biggest questions surrounding Bates' decision, including where he fits in a star-studded Tigers lineup, how long we might see the 17-year-old in college basketball, what skills NBA evaluators are hoping to see from Bates as he dons a Memphis uniform and what the best evaluation opportunities (and most thrilling games) will be for Bates during a much-anticipated 2021-22 college basketball season.

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Bates, No. 3 in '21 ESPN 100, to play at Memphis

ESPN 25 August, 2021 - 06:36pm

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Emoni Bates, one of the top prospects in high school basketball, announced his commitment to Memphis on Wednesday, firmly positioning the Tigers as a potential Final Four team.

Bates will suit up for coach Penny Hardaway's program during the upcoming season. Bates appeared in the Memphis student directory early Wednesday afternoon; the last day to enroll for the fall semester is Thursday.

A 6-foot-9 small forward from Ypsilanti, Michigan, Bates is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN 100 for the 2021 class. He originally committed to Michigan State last summer before reopening his recruitment in April. Long expected to skip college and opt to play professionally, Bates didn't have a busy recruitment until well into the spring.

Earlier this month, Bates announced he was reclassifying into the 2021 class while also cutting his list of options to four: Michigan State, Oregon, Memphis and the G League.

He took visits to Memphis and Oregon last week.

Bates had been ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2022 class since he first emerged on the recruiting scene early in his high school career, but he had an inconsistent junior season at Ypsi Prep (Michigan). However, he regained some of his momentum with the Team Final grassroots program during the spring, reestablishing himself as one of the elite scorers at the high school level. Joining the Bates Fundamental again on the Nike EYBL circuit in July, Bates averaged 20.0 points in nine games, including a 33-point performance.

He also had a 35-point game in late July in the consolation bracket of the Nike Peach Jam, shooting 13-for-24 from the field and finishing with six rebounds and three assists.

At Memphis, Bates will join fellow potential top-five NBA pick Jalen Duren, whom he played with on Team Final during the spring. Duren committed to the Tigers earlier this month.

"Bates is considered one of the most gifted offensive players in the game," ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi said. "Agile and explosive with positional size and high-level shot-making talent from anywhere, he has an elusive dribble and will be great in transition, isolations, pull-up jumpers and spot-up 3s, as well as playing out of second-side ball-screen actions.

"Bates brings a competitiveness but must continue to mature. As most college freshmen experience, there is much to learn on the defensive side of the court. He had demonstrated the ability to function well with Jalen Duren from their weekend together on the circuit with Team Final. Duren and Bates could be one of the most lethal combinations in college basketball this season."

Bates and Duren are two of the four ESPN 100 prospects to commit to Memphis in the 2021 class, with Johnathan Lawson and Josh Minott also heading to the Tigers. Four-star center Sam Onu is another freshman to watch next season.

Hardaway has three returning starters -- Landers Nolley II, DeAndre Williams and Lester Quinones -- from a team that beat Mississippi State to win the NIT championship. He also added three high-major transfers: Earl Timberlake (9.3 PPG at Miami), Tyler Harris (7.5 PPG at Iowa State) and Chandler Lawson (4.4 PPG at Oregon).

Memphis was outside the top 25 in July's Way-Too-Early Top 25 update, but the additions of Duren and Bates puts the Tigers inside the top 10 -- and clearly in the national championship conversation.

Bates doesn't turn 18 until January, so he is too young to enter the 2022 NBA draft. Draft rules state a prospect must be a year removed from his high school graduating class and turn 19 in that calendar year to go into the draft. Bates won't turn 19 until January 2023. As a result, he could end up playing college basketball for two years, or go to college for one year and then play in the G League or elsewhere for a year before entering the 2023 draft.

Emoni Bates picks Memphis, joins Penny Hardaway and Jalen Duren

Yahoo Sports 25 August, 2021 - 06:24pm

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Head coach Penny Hardaway landed a strong recruiting class with Bates and the other top player in the 2022 class, Jalen Duren. Both Bates and Duren teamed up this past spring on the AAU circuit playing for Philadelphia-based Team Final on Nike’s EYBL.

“His passing is really underrated, and I love playing with him,” Duren told Yahoo Sports last month. “He creates so much space for others since you can’t even drop off to help in the post when he doesn’t have the ball.”

Bates, a 6-foot-9 wing, committed to Michigan State last summer but reopened his options in the spring. He averaged 22.2 points per game during the biggest AAU tournament of the summer, Nike’s Peach Jam, last month and was one of the top prospects on the court. NBA scouts and executives got a first look at the 17-year-old who has been hailed as “the next Kevin Durant” as he knocked down tough 3-pointers from anywhere on the court and drew numerous double-teams whenever he touched the ball.

“Emoni has a natural feel for the game that you don’t see a lot at this level,” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “His long frame and high release on his jump shot will definitely help him down the road in his career.”

This isn’t the first time Hardaway will have the top recruiting class. Two seasons ago he landed the No. 1 recruit in the nation in James Wiseman (who eventually went No. 2 to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA draft) and five-star recruit Precious Achiuwa. It was a disappointing season for the Tigers after Wiseman played only three games due to a recruiting violation and eligibility issues, and the Tigers went 21-10 (10-8 in the AAC).

With the NCAA’s name, image and likeness rule in place for this season, look for both marquee players to cash in big for the 2021-22 season. They each have the potential to bring in over $1 million each this season and with the established brand Hardaway has built at Memphis, both players could earn more than any other player at a blue-blood program.

All eyes will be on Memphis this upcoming season. The pressure is on Hardaway to win and after seeing what both players did at the high school level, Memphis is now must-watch basketball for NBA fans.

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Five-star forward Emoni Bates commits to Memphis

247Sports 25 August, 2021 - 12:55pm

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"Bates is a dangerous contested shot-maker who arguably is the best scorer in high school basketball," 247Sports recruiting analyst Brandon Jenkins said. "He can score in a variety of ways due to his ability to put the ball in the basket at all three levels. He is dangerous pulling up from deep in transition and has range that extends past the NBA three. Bates has a quick trigger and shoots over defenders with ease. He is unfazed when attempting jumpers with a high degree of difficulty due to his length, quick release, and touch. He also has instincts as a passer and will occasionally make the right find when a defense zeroes in on him. Defensively, there is a lot of potential there. He could be versatile on that end as he has the size, length, and fluidity to check multiple positions. Bates has multi-year all-star type potential in the association. Potential in which he displays while being extremely productive dominating the high school basketball scene in the scoring category."

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