Basketball Recruiting - Rivals Roundtable: Donda Academy, Emoni Bates, 2024 commit
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Rivals Roundtable: Donda Academy, Emoni Bates, 2024 commit

There’s no shortage of preseason storyline making waves in the worlds of high school and college basketball these days. This week in the Rivals roundtable, analysts Jamie Shaw, Rob Cassidy and Dan McDonald discuss Kanye West’s recent overture at the prep hoops world, a 2024 commit for Michigan and some underwhelming pro day measurements for Memphis freshman Emoni Bates.


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MORE: Prospects that could be included the first rankings for the 2024 class

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150

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1. OVER-UNDER 2.5 SEASONS PLAYED BY KANYE WEST’S RECENTLY ANNOUNCED DONDA ACADEMY PREP SCHOOL?

Kanye West
Kanye West (USA Today Sports Images)

Shaw: I am not sure. The word of Donda Academy has certainly made a splash. So have the players they are bringing in. The media surrounding this venture should not come as a surprise, everything Kanye West does draws attention. The reason I am not sure how long Donda Academy will last is I am not sure what the program's objective is. Do they want to last more than a couple of seasons? If they do, they have the resources in place to make it.

Cassidy: My man can barely finish an album. Now he’s gonna finish creating a school? I’ll take the under. Could Donda Academy last? Sure. West certainly has the capital and connections to turn his school into a real institution. The question is, does he have the attention span? Also, convincing people to actually send their children there might be a bit of a chore considering some of the things West has said publicly in recent years. They’ll almost certainly play a season of basketball. Anything beyond that seems uncertain at best. Sadly, this feels less like my Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and more like Yhandi.

McDonald: Prep schools are becoming more and more popular among top prospects and it’s easy to see why they’d be intrigued by the idea of playing for Kanye West’s program. If Kanye puts real money into it and gets the right people in charge of the program, this can definitely work. I’ll take the over 2.5 here.

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2. WHAT’S YOUR LEVEL OF CONCERN ABOUT EMONI BATES’ UNDERWHELMING MEASURABLES AT MEMPHIS’ RECENT PRO DAY?

Emoni Bates
Emoni Bates (USA Today Sports Images)

Shaw: No. The level of concern has not changed due to Emoni Bates' pro-day measurables because the numbers did not tell us anything we did not already know. Watching Emoni Bates through high school, we saw he lacked burst and pop. We could see that he struggled at times to finish among the trees due to his shorter wingspan. The small hands are new information, but it is not a surprise. With the spotlight on him since middle school, Bates is used to facing questions. So do his measurables create more concern, no, I would suggest this just provides data behind the concerns the eye-test provided.” -- Shaw

Cassidy: I don’t think I’d sweat it much if I were a Memphis fan. His vertical and hand size don’t mean much for the season ahead, as everyone has long known what Bates is on the floor. The measurements just confirmed a list of concerns scouts had this summer. I’d be a little more concerned when it comes to Bates’ draft stock. If Bates has a dominant year at Memphis and posts big numbers while playing multiple positions, his standing as a top-5 pick will be solidified regardless of measurements. Should he experience growing pains and fall short of expectations, the mediocre measurables will give NBA GMs another reason to explore other options at the top of the draft. Measurables aren’t viewed in a vacuum. They’re part of a larger picture -- a larger picture that is yet to reveal itself.

McDonald: I’m not terribly concerned by his measurables. We all knew roughly where he would come in at there. The biggest question for him going forward is what type of year will he have at Memphis and how will it look with him trying to be a primary ball-handler. I’m more concerned, and I’m sure NBA scouts feel the same way, with how he performs this year than I am with his current measurables.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MEMPHIS FANS AT TIGERSPORTSREPORT.COM

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3. MICHIGAN LANDED AN EARLY COMMIT FROM 2024 PROSPECT CHRISTIAN ANDERSON. DO YOU THINK HE’LL ACTUALLY SIGN WITH THE WOLVERINES? 

Christian Anderson
Christian Anderson

Shaw: There is a chance. There is so much time between now and when a 2024 prospect will sign their NLI; a lot could happen. From the second the offer was issued, it was expected for Christian Anderson to accept it. Anderson had a big summer, with numerous 30-point and 40-point outings. He is a confident guard and his dad stands 6-foot-6 and played professionally overseas. The production is there, the bloodlines are there, the hesitancy for me is the amount of time between now and Anderson's signing day.

Cassidy: Saying ‘it won’t last’ is playing the odds, so I’ll go with that. Assuming the Earth itself makes it to 2024, coaching changes, a change of heart by either Anderson or Michigan, injuries, a growing number of professional options and a dozen other little things threaten to derail such an early pledge.. Do I have any reason to doubt Anderson’s commitment to the Wolverines? Of course not, but going with “no” is simply smart science given the amount of moving parts.

McDonald: The odds here are heavily in favor of him not signing with Michigan in the 2024 class. There is a lot of time for coaching changes to happen and/or the kid and those around him deciding to look at other options. The beginning of sophomore year is awfully early to make a verbal commitment, so it will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH MICHIGAN FANS AT THEWOLVERINE.COM