Tag Archives: Memphis Tigers basketball

Bates progresses…but how much?

Early against Michigan on November 11th, former Memphis and current Eastern Michigan star guard Emoni Bates worked without the ball. On one out of bounds play in particular, he re-set and hit a jumper from the corner. His long range stroke has continued to improve or at least remain intact.

Bates is more of a quick than high-riser. This aids above average foot speed in the open floor (1st Half/17:42, UM ’22). That burst actually enabled him to finish a follow dunk in the lane (1st Half/6:48, UM ’22) and cut to the basket (one-hand dunk) in the second half. His overall width can make up for any deficiencies in terms of true bounce.

Dating back to his prep level playing days, the range has always gone well beyond the arc. He hit a 25-footer from the wing against Michigan.

During the first half of this contest, Bates actually was part of an Eastern Michigan squad that led the 22nd-ranked Wolverines at one point. There were fallaway jumpers off one foot, step back three-pointers from 28 feet and drives to the basket through contact.

A strong suit in his game revolves around handle. It is more reminiscent of a 6-foot-1 guard than 6-foot-10 wing player.

Emoni Bates dribbling the ball during the 2021 Nike EBYL
Months after starring in the 2021 Nike EBYL, Bates reclassified to the 2021 recruiting cycle before enrolling at Memphis.

There have been more stretches this season where Bates has played within the scope of the offense. It is important to remember that he skipped his senior year of high school. The inaugural season at Memphis basically represented his senior year after re-classifying to the 2021 recruiting cycle.

After a tumultuous 2022 offseason that featured a number of off the court headlines, Bates has settled down.

Playing with one of his old teammates from the Bates Fundamentals AAU squad could be part of the positive acclimation to the MAC.

Orlando Lovejoy -a 6-foot-2 freshman guard- is currently averaging nearly nine points per game for the team.

But starting a season fast isn’t anything new for Bates. As a freshman at Memphis in 2021-22, he began the year by making 50-percent of his first 18 three-point attempts (three games).

And the rest of the season?

Bates connected on just 27.5-percent of the remaining 58 three-point attempts.

He was marginally effective as a free throw shooter, did not distribute the ball efficiently and turned the ball over too often in his minutes on the floor. Increasingly, he relied on low percentage shots.

In the four games since the breakout Michigan performance, some of those trends have reappeared. The three-point shooting has not slowed down at all, as Bates continues to connect at nearly a 45-percent clip. Prior to his collegiate years, Bates was at least a competent distributor. Increasingly, the Eagles (1-5) use him as both an on or off the ball performer.

Emoni Bates G-Bates Fundamentals
Eastern Michigan small forward Emoni Bates has connected on 44-percent of his three-point field goals through the team’s first five games in 2022-23.

The results have not always yielded succinct ball distribution.

In fact, he has a nearly a one-to-three turnover-to-assist ratio (1:2.8) through five games.

The most notable regression has been the shots inside of the three-point stripe. If you strip away the nine two-point field goals against Michigan, Bates has hit just 30.4-percent of the two-point field goal attempts in his last four games.

Defensively, he continues to be a work in progress. Getting stronger will be a key for Bates as he transitions to the next level. Injuries were a major part of the inconsistent freshman season at Memphis.

Overall, the first five games of the year for Bates has shown notable strides, but there is still work to be done.

But the most important part of the progress may very well be defined by how those around him have accepted him.

“He wanted to come here because he felt at home, he felt comfortable, he felt connected to his teammates,” Eastern Michigan head coach Stan Heath said. “All those things matter. Fit matters. When players choose schools, they should go where they fit.

“He fits here and he feels real comfortable.” (https://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/college/2022/11/12/he-fits-here-comfortable-back-home-emoni-bates-puts-on-a-show-at-lca/69640228007/)

Jalen Duren C-Detroit Pistons (via Charlotte): 2022 NBA Draft, 1st Round, 13th overall

Duren was involved in a draft night trade that sent him from the Charlotte Hornets to the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons young roster brings plenty of opportunity for Duren, once considered the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2022 before reclassifying to play for head coach Anfernee Hardaway at Memphis. The excitement of Cade Cunningham as a former number one overall pick could signal the start of a Pistons resurgence.

Last summer, Duren was competing for the No. 1 spot in the 2022 recruiting cycle with his soon-to-be teammate at Memphis, Emoni Bates, now heading to play at Eastern Michigan. Duren led Team Final to a 2021 Peach Jam title while averaging 23 points and eight rebounds per game. The Philadelphia native then reclassified to the 2021 class. Fast forward a year later and the AAC Freshman of the Year could become a starting center in the NBA.

Duren averaged over 12 points per game for the Memphis Tigers in 2021-22.

The Hornets traded his draft rights to the Detroit Pistons after taking him 13th overall. Purdue’s Jaden Ivey, whom the team took fifth overall, could pave a driveway for the team’s foundation through this draft. Duren’s NBA-ready frame may be put to the test early, where his rare length (7’5″ wingspan) should be relied upon to protect the rim for teammates.

Jalen Green SG- NBA G League Ignite, NBA Draft Prospect Snapshot

Forgoing offers from major collegiate programs like Memphis, Arizona and Oregon, Jalen Green decided to join the NBA G League Ignite. The G League Ignite is part of the NBA G League and is in their inaugural season. Select NBA Draft prospects can join the team rather than attend college and play anywhere from 10-12 exhibition games alongside NBA veterans. 

Green, a former consensus five-star prospect and arguably the best player in the Class of 2020, is an explosive leaper and a proficient ball handler.  He impressed scouts on the AAU circuit with his ability to slash to the rim and create in transition. As the youngest member of Team USA’s FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup roster, Green averaged 10.1 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. 

The California native will have to improve his shooting mechanics, he shot 62-percent  from the free throw line and 29-percent from beyond the arc against FIBA competition. In addition to his work on the international circuit, Green averaged 31.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game as a senior in 2019-20 at Prolific Prep in Napa, California. He also helped lead Prolific Prep to a 31-3 overall record.

James Wiseman PF/C-Memphis: Highlight film

Memphis’ James Wiseman averaged 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds in an abbreviated three-game showcase for NBA teams. In addition, he shot over 70-percent from the free throw line while connecting on nearly 77-percent of his shots from the field. His 7-foot-6-inch wingspan allows him to alter shots and get his shot off from a number of body positions. The 7-foot-1, 237-pound Wiseman is looking to follow in the footsteps of his idol, 21-year NBA veteran Kevin Garnett (Timberwolves, Celtics, Nets), as a Top 5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Wiseman, pictured, played for the Bluff City Legends AAU (Tenn.) squad during his time at the prep level.