Penny Hardaway and Memphis just got fortunate again in college basketball recruiting. Tigers just signed an unexpected 5-star for the second time in August as they were able to get commitment from Emoni Bates, a Class of 2021 star. Last Wednesday, Bates chose Memphis over offers from the G League, Michigan State, and Oregon.
There was a time when Bates was ranked the number one recruit in the 2022 class, initially committed to remaining in Michigan (his home state) and playing basketball for Tom Izzo.
Several things changed since that moment where he reopened his recruitment five months ago, allowing an all-out interest from Memphis recently. He became a hotter commodity after a reclassification in July into the class of 2021.
Potential suitors reclassified him as one of the top impact team members in the seasons to come. The 247Sports composite ranked him as the number four overall prospect in that class and number one NBA Draft pick potential.
For Hardaway and Memphis, the commitment of Bates continues growing around the program that is close to an ATH under their coach staff towards the forthcoming season. Apart from Bates, Memphis has landed quite a number of other players and this has made the Tigers the number one recruiting class in the US.
After Hardaway briefly flirted with Orlando Magic for its vacancy for a head coach, he seems to be staying true to his words or dedicating his aim to compiling a roster with the potential of a championship.
The Duren-Bates combination has the potential of becoming one of the most interesting in college hoops the forthcoming season, and with some returning stars in DeAndre Williams and Landers Nolley, the odds of the Tigers winning the title next season is at top-15 futures.
One other thing that's intriguing about Bates's inclusion to the Memphis team is his eligibility. He's got a blue-chip resume as a future jackpot pick, but he's a scares reclassification case whereby he isn't eligible to be simply one-and-done due to his age, which means he will have to play 2 more years before he can gain the eligibility to be in NBA draft in 2023.
If he can play these two years in Memphis, there is a high tendency of him cashing in on his image, name, and likeness similar to some others at the college level looking at his profile and his future potential of becoming one of the college basketball faces for a borderline top ten preseason team.