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Emoni Bates’ future in question at Memphis as Penny Hardaway’s struggles continue

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Bates’ time at Memphis seems like it has come to an end.

Syndication: The Commercial Appeal Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Coming out of high school, Emoni Bates was one of the most sought-after recruits, receiving offers from just about every major program while ranking fifth overall at 247 Sports.

Bates eventually passed on the G-League and overseas opportunities to play with Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers, joining 5-star recruit (No. 6 overall) Jalen Duren.

Let’s just say his time there hasn’t quite gone as planned, and this may be yet another top recruit that Hardaway loses before their career at Memphis takes off.

If you remember, James Wiseman, the top overall recruit for the Class of 2019 who eventually went second overall to the Golden State Warriors in the 2020 NBA Draft, chose Memphis over Kentucky.

The 7-foot center played in just three games before stepping away and preparing for the draft, not wanting to deal with issues over his eligibility which was linked back to the recruitment process.

As for Bates, it looks like his future at the college is also up in the air.

Now, Bates has made it far longer than Wiseman and doesn’t appear to be dealing with the same issues.

So far this season, Bates has played in 16 games and is averaging 10.4 points per game, shooting just under 39% from the field. Bates is connecting on just 33% of his attempts from 3-point range.

Memphis, a team projected to be a powerhouse prior to the season, is now just 11-8 and 5-4 in conference play. The upside isn’t there, and without Bates, things could go from bad to worse.