Michigan basketball made the final six for top-ranked transfer Emoni Bates but are the Wolverines really interested?
There has been a lot of smoke about michigan basketball and former No. 1 overall recruit in 2023, Emoni Bates.
Bates is from the state of Michigan and at one time, was committed to Michigan State. However, I have decommitted and instead of going to the G-league, I have played at Memphis last season.
Injuries hampered his season with the Tigers and he entered the transfer portal soon after the season ended. There have been rampant rumors of Michigan being interested in Bates, however, all Michigan beat reporters said they hadn’t heard anything from inside the building.
There wasn’t any reported communication between Michigan and Bates, outside of a picture showing Juwan and Bates together at a basketball tournament.
Yet, as there were rumors of Michigan players leaving the transfer portal, there has been a chatter about Bates at least being interested in Michigan. On Monday, the 6-foot-9 forward released his top six to Joe Tipton of On3.com, and Michigan basketball made the cut along with Seton Hall, Louisville, Eastern Michigan, Depaul, and Arkansas.
Matt Norlander also tweeted soon after that from what he gathered over the weekend, the Wolverines haven’t recruited Bates but that the interest is from his side of things.
Could Michigan get interested in Bates?
A lot of Michigan fans are against adding Bates. His camp is somewhat overzealous and there are real questions about his ability to fit in and play the role required of him at UM.
Yet, there are a couple of things in his favor. For one, he’s got a lot of talent, especially on the offensive end. Bates can shoot from deep and while he made just 31 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, he shot more 3s than 2s in 12 of 18 games.
He still made one 3-pointer per game and played off Jalen Duren last season, so he could probably learn how to play off Hunter Dickinson.
Bates turned the ball over too much and suffered from poor shot selection, but he’s got first-round talent and can score in a number of different ways including on isolations which is something Michigan has struggled with in recent years.
Against Villanova, the Wolverines needed a guy who could get his own shot and there wasn’t anyone on the team that could do it. Bates is talented enough (he’s 247 sports top-ranked transfer).
I worry about the chemistry problems and as Norlander points out, Michigan doesn’t have any scholarships available right now.
However, that could change.
I don’t see Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan both returning. Getting one of them back might even be too optimistic and expecting both to return is overly optimistic.
So if either leaves for the NBA draft, Michigan will have limited options to replace that talent, which is when Bates could become a viable option.
Not only does he have first-round talents like Diabate and Houstan, but as a rising sophomore (just one year in college) it would be much easier for him to transfer to UM and he wouldn’t have the same issues Terrence Shannon had with some of his credits not transferring in.
That really limits Michigan’s options and any player not in the transfer portal now will need a waiver to play next season, so unless other heavy hitters enter the portal, there really aren’t many options out there, and even fewer that UM is connected to .
In a worst-case scenario in which both Diabate and Houstan keep their names in the draft, Michigan would almost have to take a hard look at Bates, otherwise, it wil suffer a major dropoff in talent from a pair of potential draft picks in Diabate and Houston.
So I wouldn’t expect a ton of movement from Michigan on Bates until those decisions are in the books, but if they don’t go U-M’s way, it might not have a choice but to pursue a commitment from Emoni Bates in the transfer portal, unless its willing to accept a big dropoff in talent.