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.