The once-can’t-miss prospect recently entered the transfer portal, where he named six schools as part of his next destination, two of which were the Michigan Wolverines and the EMU Eagles in his hometown of Ypsilanti.
There were rumblings that Bates and Memphis coach Anfernee (Penny) Hardaway were ready to reconcile as Bates’ father was seen at the Tigers practice facility, but Hardaway shot down the rumors on a Youtube Memphis podcast.
“Well, obviously, he’s got into the transfer portal,” said Hardaway. “I haven’t spoken to his people. The Emoni thing, I haven’t been approached by it. He is in the portal, and I haven’t spoken to anybody in his camp.”
Hardaway spoke about Bates’ time in Memphis and how the fans and former teammates perceived him.
“These kids all have that goal to want to make it to the NBA, so sometimes in the realm of things, these things come out,” Hardaway said. “It’s the jockeying for position that gets them out of character. Some people were unfairly judged, especially Emoni, because Emoni was a bigger offensive player. He was a guy who could score the basketball. They put him out there early and started critiquing him really early, and that frustrated him, and then when he wasn’t getting the love, he was expecting from the veterans, he kind of just started spiraling down.”
During his time with Hardaway, Bates played 15 minutes and scored eight points in two games during the 2022 NCAA Tournament. One of those games came against No. 2 pick Chet Holmgren and the Gonzaga Bulldogs, where he scored five points in 12 minutes off the bench.
As a freshman, Bates averaged 23 minutes per game, shooting 38% from the floor and 32% on four long-range attempts per game. When he attacked the basket, he got to the free-throw line, 64% from the charity stripe.
He averaged 9.7 points per game and 3 rebounds per game, so it’s safe to say that his best has not been seen yet, and as the old saying goes, “home is where the heart is,” so a reset with some home cooking will hopefully help Bates plummeting stock begin to ascend once again.
How do you feel about Bates returning home to regain some traction? Do you think he can prevail the Eagles to the top of the Mid-American Conference?