Updated: Aug 26, 2021
The long, back and forth recruitment of Emoni Bates has come to an end, as he committed to Memphis.
The news was announced via social media.
Bates is one of the most talented high school players to come through the high school ranks in years, as a 6'8 forward whose game has often been compared to Kevin Durant, and was once touted as the best high school player since LeBron James. While the hype around Bates has died down just a little bit in recent months (it was always unfair to compare him to LeBron) he still an elite talent that should very likely end up as a Top 5 pick when he is eligible for the 2023 NBA Draft (because of his age, he will not be eligible for the 2022 draft).
It also makes Memphis a fascinating team heading into the 2021-2022 season. Bates' commitment comes just days after another top five prospect in the class of 2021, Jalen Duren committed to the school, giving the Tigers two future lottery picks on their roster. That's in addition to another potential first round pick (Earl Timberlake) and the teams two top scorers returning from last year as well.
The Tigers should start the year ranked in the Top 15 at worst (I have them at No. 15 in my poll) and with real expectations to not only make Penny Hardaway's first NCAA Tournament, but win when they get there.
Penny Hardaway wanted the smoke when he took the Memphis job.
There's no doubt he has it now.