Five-star prospect Emoni Bates dazzled in his official collegiate debut with the No. 12 Memphis Tigers on Tuesday in a win over Tennessee Tech to kick off his much-anticipated freshman campaign.
Bates, who committed to Memphis in September after reclassifying, finished with a game-high 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and one steal in 30 minutes of work in the 89-65 win. He went 6-of-9 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
The 17-year-old got his night started quickly, pulling up and draining a 3-pointer on the break just three minutes into the contest. He recorded 10 points alone in the first half, connecting on 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Emoni Bates lived up to the hype in his college debut ♨️
🔥 17 PTS
🔥 6-9 FG
🔥 4-7 3-PT FG pic.twitter.com/cLXoroOcbR
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 10, 2021
Bates did the majority of his work from behind the 3-point line but also found success driving into the paint and getting others involved. He flashed that smooth jump shot numerous times throughout the contest and looks to be a capable shooter at the college level.
The debut of Bates garnered quite a reaction on social media, with many weighing in on his opening-night performance. The effort even earned the praise of Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who was on hand at the game at the FedEx Forum.
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) November 10, 2021
Memphis freshman Emoni Bates’ college debut:
17 points, 6-9 FG, 4-7 from 3
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) November 10, 2021
Penny Hardaway on Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren’s first college game: Shocked by the poise and calmness they both played with.
— Cassie Carlson (@CassieCarlsonTV) November 10, 2021
Emoni Bates. Yeah that brother nice.
— Devin Walker (@Devin_Walker2) November 10, 2021
Behind the back, step back into a 3-pointer.
Emoni Bates' bag is different. 37-24 Memphis, 7:22 left in the half.
— S. Johnson (@StevenMJohnson_) November 10, 2021
Emoni Bates may really be the next Kevin Durant after all
— M-Town Media (@mtownmedia) November 10, 2021
Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren are going to be a PROBLEM
— Hunter Wyatt (@Hump_Dillo) November 10, 2021
Emoni Bates is the real damn deal and he’s going to cause all kinds of torment for every team the Tigers face this year.
— 901Stacey (@StaceyCotton901) November 10, 2021
Emoni Bates the best Bball player in college an he’s 17yrs old 💀💀💀💀
— 7-2 GoPackGo 🧀🇳🇬🇯🇵🏁 (@RogGoHome) November 10, 2021
Emoni bates looked good in his debut.. baby KD!
— The Wizard 🧙🏿♂️ (@_liddy1) November 10, 2021
Bates is considered perhaps the top high school prospect in over a decade and has often been compared to Kevin Durant. His recruitment was highly publicized as he projects to have a tremendous impact at the next level at Memphis.
Because he will not turn 19 until January, Bates will not be eligible for the NBA draft next year. He needs to spend at least two seasons in college prior to entering the draft in 2023.