Emoni Bates, Jalen Duren square off in battle of top 2022 basketball recruits

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Tyler Calvaruso
·3 min read
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MADE Hoops hosted a loaded day of AAU basketball at Midwest Mania in Indianapolis on Saturday, with a matchup of the top two recruits in the class of 2022 stealing the show.

Emoni Bates, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2022, and Jalen Duren, the No. 2 recruit in the class of 2022, as Bates Fundamentals and Team Final squared off as the event’s marquee matchup. Duren and Team Final’s squad ultimately emerged victoriously, with Duren taking matters into his own hands and putting his name into the mix for the top spot in the class of 2022.

Duren took on the responsibility of guarding Bates and thrived in the role as Team Final cruised to a convincing win over Bates Fundamentals. Duren made life tough on Bates, hindering his ability to put the ball on the floor and get inside to draw fouls — a staple of his game throughout his high school and AAU career. Bates also struggled to finish around the rim and Duren forced him into tough jump shots from the perimeter.

Arguably the most exciting sequence of the game came when Duren stripped Bates and drove coast-to-coast for a monstrous dunk. Bates then immediately answered with a deep three-pointer.

Bates committed to Michigan State over offers from DePaul, Florida State, Kentucky and Michigan. Many of college basketball’s elite programs opted not to recruit Bates with him making the jump into the professional ranks right out of high school a likely option for the 6-foot-8, 200-pound small forward that has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant.

“Extremely thin but has great length for such a skilled player. Plays with strength, though, and doesn’t avoid contact,” 247Sports’ Jerry Meyer said in his scouting report of Bates. “Quick twitch athlete who moves feet well and is quick off the floor. Elite three-level scorer. Has deep range off catch or dribble. Can score in a multitude of ways.

“Handles well, has plethora of moves and can attack either direction. Has a feel as a passer. Dangerous offensive rebounder. Good defensively when focused. Has defensive versatility. Elite, elite prospect.”

The 6-foot-10, 230-pound Duren, who plays his high school basketball at powerhouse Montverde Academy, is also expected to spurn the college ranks and jump directly to the pros.

“One of the most impressive post prospects to come along in terms of how he is built physically and one of the top overall prospects in America,” 247Sports’ Brandon Jenkins said in his scouting report of Duren. “Duren is a total monster in the low post who commands a double team and always knows where it is coming from.

“He is more physical, athletic, and bigger than his peers which sums up to him being a pro in the making. He runs the floor, can explode off it where he shows value as a conscientious rebounder. His touch around the basket and ability to leap multiple times is noteworthy.”