Penny Hardaway landed a big fish on Wednesday, as five-star prep player Emoni Bates committed to play college basketball at Memphis. Bates, long considered the top prospect in the 2022 high school basketball recruiting class, recently reclassified and will play for the Tigers this season. It's a huge win for Hardaway's program, and tops off a ridiculous recruiting class that will be the best in the nation.
Bates is a 6-foot-8, 200-pound small forward who has drawn comparisons to LeBron James. The Ypsilanti, Michigan native was long committed to Michigan State, but backed off that pledge in April. Now he'll join fellow five-star Jalen Duren at Memphis, along with three other touted freshmen.
Bates has an incredible feel for the game at his age. He's a shot-maker, can score in different ways, has really deep range on his jumper and handles the ball really well. He's a tremendous athlete, with length and to top it all off he's an excellent defender. The comparisons to LeBron mostly come because of his excellent court-vision. He truly is a do-it-all player.
While Bates now checks in as the fourth-best prospect nationwide in the class of 2021, Duren sits at No. 5. Meanwhile, Memphis also landed forward Josh Minott (No. 44), center Sam Ayomide (No. 122) and forward John Camden (No. 143). It is by far the best recruiting class in the country.
Memphis also returns its two leading scorers in Landers Nolley II and DeAndre Williams, plus sharpshooting guard Lester Quinones and much more. The Tigers will be loaded this season and just became a legit national title contender.