5-Star SF Emoni Bates Commits to Memphis After Decommitting from Michigan State

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2021

YPSILANTI, MI - DECEMBER 09:  Ypsilanti Lincoln Railsplitter sophomore Emoni Bates in action against the River Rouge Panthers during the Ypsi Tip Off Classic on December 9, 2019 at the Eastern Michigan Convocation University Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Emoni Bates will be playing college basketball after all.

The highly regarded prospect committed to the Memphis Tigers on Wednesday, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Bates is a 5-star prospect and the No. 4 overall player in the class of 2021, per 247Sports' composite rankings. He decided to reclassify to the 2021 class in August.

He initially committed to Michigan State but decommitted from the Spartans on April 30.

"I would like to thank Tom Izzo and the coaching staff at Michigan State, but I have decided to reopen my recruitment," he wrote on Instagram. "I'm not sure what my future holds, but I am keeping all of my options open, both college and pro."

His decommitment came slightly more than two months after Enoch Boakye, who was a 4-star prospect on 247Sports' composite rankings, decommitted from Michigan State in February. Boakye eventually joined the Arizona State Sun Devils after he reclassified to the 2021 class.

As for Bates, it was once widely expected he would go the professional route after he decommitted from the Spartans.

Jeff Borzello of ESPN noted Michigan State was the only program that seriously recruited him because many were "skeptical that Bates will actually attend college, thinking he would potentially prefer to go to the G League for a year before the NBA."

In the end, he chose to play for head coach Penny Hardaway instead of following in the footsteps of previous prospects such as Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix.

Bates, who 247Sports' Brandon Jenkins compared to Paul George, has the skill set to lead his new team to the Final Four as soon as his freshman season.

His versatility on both ends of the floor sticks out, as he can shoot over smaller defenders, take bigger ones off the bounce, facilitate to teammates when he penetrates and draws double teams, and defend multiple positions thanks to his length at 6'8" and his overall athleticism.

If he lives up to expectations at Memphis, he will likely be a high NBA draft pick in the near future.

He can also propel the Tigers to the next step considering they have not made the NCAA men's tournament since the 2013-14 campaign. The program is looking to return to national prominence and the Final Four, which it last reached in 2008.

Landing players like Bates is exactly how it can do just that.