Penny Hardaway added a Five-Star prospect

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Photo from Nicole Hester/AP

Five-star recruit Emoni Bates, will play college ball for Coach Penny Hardaway at Memphis.

A 6-foot-9 small forward from Ypsilanti, Mich., Bates is ranked third in the 2021 class in the ESPN 100. He committed to Michigan State last summer, then changed his mind in April and reopened recruiting. Because he doesn’t turn 18 until January, he is not eligible for the NBA draft in 2022. Draft rules stipulate that a player must be a year removed from his high school graduating class and turn 19 in that calendar year. Bates won’t be 19 until early 2023, so he had to consider options that included college hoops and the G League for the next two seasons.

“I will be taking my talents to Memphis,” Bates said on Instagram Live as he put on a Tigers baseball cap and was cheered on by family and supporters.

He had narrowed his choices to Oregon, Memphis and Michigan State earlier this month and visited Oregon and Memphis last week. He’ll enter college at a lucky time, with college athletes now able to cash in, literally, on their names, images and likenesses.

“I just felt like Coach Penny could prepare me for the next level,” Bates told Stadium’s Jeff Goodman and The Field of 68’s Rob Dauster after his announcement. “I’m super excited [that the process] is over. I’m ready. I’m about to lock in even more. I’m about to go turn up my Tiger fans.”

At Memphis, he joins another top-five recruit, 6-9 forward Jalen Duren, on the team coached by Hardaway, a former star player at Memphis and in the NBA who took over the program in 2018.

Shawn Stewart is the Founder & CEO of Sports 4 America , Shawn also does Play-By-Play broadcasting for High School Football and Basketball. You can Follow Shawn Stewart on Twitter and Instagram