“I’d like to thank Coach Penny [Hardaway], my teammates and the entire coaching staff at the University of Memphis for giving me the opportunity to be a Tiger,” Bates wrote on Instagram. “Thank you Tiger Nation for embracing me and all of you who supported our team throughout this season. With that being said, I have decided to enter the transfer portal. Thank you!”
Bates, a 6-foot-9 small forward from Ypsilanti, Michigan, was considered one of the top high school basketball prospects for the past few years. He was ranked No. 1 in the 2022 class throughout his high school career, before reclassifying into the 2021 class last summer and finishing with the No. 3 ranking.
He originally committed to Michigan State in the summer of 2020 before reopening his recruitment in April 2021. For most of high school, Bates widely expected to skip college and opt to play professionally. But he went through a legitimate recruitment last spring and summer, and ultimately committed to Memphis in late August.
Bates had an inconsistent freshman season with the Tigers. He opened his college career with 17 points in his debut against Tennessee Tech, then followed it up with 15 points against North Carolina Central and 16 points against Saint Louis. Bates hit double figures just five times the rest of the season, and failed to score more than 13 points in another game.
He also missed 15 of 33 games due to a back injury that required him to return home to Michigan to see a specialist.
Bates finished his freshman season averaging 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Because Bates turned 18 in January, he is not eligible for the 2022 NBA draft. In addition to transferring to another school, he could also choose to play in the G League or for Overtime Elite for one year before going to the NBA.