Bates, once ranked as the No. 1 rookie in the 2022 class, initially pledged to stay in his home state of Michigan and play for Tom Izzo in the state of Michigan. However, a lot has changed since then, with a decision to reopen recruiting in April giving way to an all-out pursuit of Memphis in recent months. A reclassification last month in the 2021 class has made him an even more popular product with potential contenders as one of the most significant additions to a squad in the coming season. He ranks fourth among the prospects in the class according to the 247Sports Composite with potential as a pick in the No. 1 NBA Draft.
For Memphis and Hardaway, Bates’ commitment continues to build momentum around the schedule approaching an all-time high under this coaching staff heading into the 2021-22 season. After an NIT Championship last season, Memphis landed this offseason rookie Jalen Duren, the No. 5 rookie in the 2021 class, earlier this month to complete a transfer class with three former four-star rookies. The addition of Bates gives the Tigers the No. 1 recruiting class in the country and two of the top five rookies in the same class for the first time in program history.
It remains to be seen whether Memphis will finish No.1, but what seems likely is that the Hardaway’s Tigers, for the second time in the last three recruiting rounds, will finish in the top five in the standings (Memphis finished No 1 in 2019).
After a brief flirtation with the Orlando Magic for his vacant head coach position, Hardaway appears to be fulfilling his summer promise to dedicate himself to compiling a roster with championship potential. The Duren-Bates combo has a chance to be one of the most entertaining of college hoops next season and with a pair of returning all-stars to Landers Nolley and DeAndre Williams, the Tigers have the 15 best chances to win eventually. the title next season.
His eligibility adds to the plot of Bates’ addition for Memphis. He has a top notch resume as a future lottery pick, but this is a rare reclassification case in which he is not eligible to be single due to his age, which means he will have to play two more years before winning the NBA. draft eligibility in 2023. If those two years come to Memphis, he believes he can capitalize on his name, image and likeness like few others have done at the college level given his profile and the potential that he could instantly become one of the faces of college basketball for a preseason team bordering on the top 10.