Emoni Bates will not be returning to Memphis’ basketball team for his sophomore season.
The former 5-star recruit announced via his Instagram on Saturday that he was entering the transfer portal after one season with the Tigers.
“I’d like to thank Coach Penny (Hardaway), my teammates and the entire coaching staff at the University of Memphis for giving me the opportunity to be a Tiger,” Bates wrote in his post. “Thank you Tiger Nation for embracing me and all of you who supported our team throughout the season.”
Bates had a rollercoaster freshman season with the Tigers after he reclassified from the 2022 recruiting class to the 2021 recruiting class to play college basketball a year earlier.
The 6-foot-9 forward from Ypsilanti capped his freshman season averaging 9.7 points on 38% shooting from the field with 3.3 rebounds per game, though he finished with more turnovers (42) than assists (23).
He missed 12 games with a back injury but returned to the lineup to play in Memphis’ two NCAA tournament games, scoring eight total points in the two contests.
In the 18 games Bates played this season, he scored less than 10 points in 10 games and did not reach 20 points scored in a game as his season-high of 17 points came in the season opener.
Bates was ranked as the top recruit in the 2022 class before reclassifying and heading to Memphis. He was considered a top pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, but his draft stock took a hit in the eyes of some NBA draft analysts after this season.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony had Bates as the 20th overall prospect in next year’s draft and Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman said he would slot Bates between the late lottery and the teens.
At 18-years-old, Bates is ineligible for the 2022 NBA draft based on the NBA’s rules that states a player must be 19 years of age during the calendar year of the draft to be eligible.
Bates can choose to transfer to another school or opt to play professionally somewhere else before he can declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.
Prior to choosing Memphis, Bates had narrowed his list of future options to Oregon, Michigan State and the NBA G League.
Bates was committed to MSU before he decided to decommit and choose Memphis.
NBA draft analyst Rashad Phillips told MLive during a phone interview last month that he still sees a bright future for Bates.
“At his age, he still hasn’t grown into his body yet,” Phillips said. “Physically, his body has to catch up with him and match his skillset and that’s why I believe his best basketball is ahead of him.
“Once his physicals match up with his skills down the line, then you’re going to get the player that everybody’s expecting him to be.”
Why Emoni Bates could still have bright future despite rollercoaster freshman season at Memphis
What’s next for Emoni Bates after freshman season at Memphis?