Florida Man: FutureCast for Indiana, Emoni Bates, more
The summer grassroots circuit is officially in the books, and a slew of massive commitments followed its conclusion, leaving recruiting at the forefront of the college basketball world.
This week in Florida Man, Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy logs a FutureCast for Indiana, examines the possible timetable for Emoni Bates to Memphis and celebrates the ability of NIL money to keep college basketball stocked with high-level talent.
2023 Rankings: Top 30
FUTURECAST OF THE WEEK: Jalen Hood-Schifino to Indiana
Jalen Hood-Schifino is set to announce his decision on Aug. 24, and the speculation has begun. Officially, the four-star guard has narrowed his list to include Indiana, Florida, Tennessee, Memphis and Texas. Unofficially, however, there are only a couple of real threats to land his pledge when he shares it with the world.
Texas and Florida have both appeared to be out of the question for some time, and reports that Hood-Schifino has officially narrowed his list to include just Tennessee and Indiana hit Twitter on Tuesday.
Whatever the case, Indiana and Tennessee have looked like the only real options since the talented prospect first narrowed his list. With roughly a week until Hood-Schifino is set to make the call, confidence in Bloomington seems to be growing, while it has begun to wane a bit in Knoxville. The Vols certainly aren’t out of the running here, but they seem like the only real threat to steal the Rivals150 prospect away from Mike Woodson and company.
Still, It’s recruiting. There are no real “locks,” and nothing is ever set in stone until pen meets paper. But I’d feel reasonably OK if I were a Hoosiers fan.
VISIT OF THE WEEK: Emoni Bates to tour Memphis
The next step toward Memphis’ dream scenario is set to unfold this week, as newly re-classified star Emoni Bates will visit campus and mull the idea of joining prized signee Jalen Duren on the Tigers’ roster next season.
Reports that Duren and Bates, who ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively before reclassifying from 2022 to 2021, plan to team up in Memphis next season have long been rampant. This week could galvanize Bates’ decision and set one of the most compelling storylines of the 2021-22 season into motion.
Also on Bates’ agenda is a weekend trip to Oregon, which could throw a wrench into the Tigers’ super-team plans. A commitment to Oregon feels unlikely, but hey, it’s recruiting. Stranger last-minute swerves have taken place.
Student-athletes have until Aug. 26 to enroll at Memphis, so an announcement can’t be far off should Bates plan on doing so. Should the Tigers’ big two come to fruition, some of the thanks can be heaped on how well the duo clicked when they briefly played together for Team Final in the Grassroots circuit this summer, as Bates never looked more effective and comfortable than when playing next to Duren.
The two-week trial run may have planted the seed that looks ready to grow into a historic recruiting class for Penny Hardaway and his program.
This week's sign that college basketball isn't dying
Point guard Nick Smith Jr. had as productive a summer as anyone, raising his rankings stock and collecting major scholarship offers. The dynamic prospect now holds offers from Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgetown and other major programs.
In the name, image and likeness era, that kind of buzz brings leverage. So when reports that Smith plans to turn away quick money to play in college began to surface, college basketball fans raised a glass to revamped NIL rules. A handful of college prospects will always choose the pro route as long as the option is available, but NIL has certainly slowed the bleeding on that front.
The rules benefit the top programs. Duren and Bates would already be in the G League if they didn’t have major college options. Smith might be off to Overtime Elite without blueblood offers, but keeping pro-level players in college is a win for the sport at large. NIL is doing just that, and it’s worth toasting.