Emoni Bates to Transfer from Memphis After 1 Year Playing for Penny Hardaway

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 16, 2022

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 19: Emoni Bates #1 of the Memphis Tigers reacts after making a shot during the first half against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 19, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Emoni Bates' time on the Memphis Tigers men's basketball team has ended after one season.

"I'd like to thank Coach Penny, my teammates, and the entire coaching staff at the University of Memphis for giving me the opportunity to be a Tiger," he said in a statement, per Joe Tipton of On3Sports. "Thank you Tiger Nation for embracing me and all of you who supported our team throughout this season. With that being said, I have decided to enter the transfer portal."

Bates failed to live up to the sky-high expectations that surrounded him as a 5-star prospect, as rated by 247Sports' composite rankings. He was a key part of Memphis' No. 1 class in 2021, but the Tigers also struggled to establish much consistency and finished as a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament.

As Tipton noted, Bates had quite the journey before even arriving at Memphis.

Michigan State was the only program that seriously recruited him in the early going because most teams expected him to go a professional route before eventually playing in the NBA. Yet he reclassified to the 2021 class and decommitted from the Spartans before choosing Memphis over the G League.

Bates appeared in just 18 games for the Tigers and missed all of February and some time in March because of a back injury. He averaged 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per night while shooting 38.6 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from three-point range.

While he flashed his potential with 15 or more points in each of his first three games, he never reached that mark again all season.

Bates also finished with just three points in three minutes in a Big Dance win over Boise State and had five points in 12 minutes in the team's loss to Gonzaga in the second round.

Tipton explained the 18-year-old Bates cannot just go into the NBA at this point because players must turn 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft to be eligible. That means transferring to another school or playing in the G League could be an option.