Three-Point Play: Michigan, Vanderbilt, Emoni Bates
In today's Three-Point Play, Rivals analyst Corey Evans breaks down some potential good news for Michigan, looks at Jerry Stackhouse’s mindset at Vanderbilt and discusses why Emoni Bates is now a recruitable prospect.
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HOWARD OFF TO A GREAT START
I had my doubts. Juwan Howard’s first few months at Michigan saw the Wolverines miss on some of their top targets. Howard has since rebounded and found success wherever he looked, whether it be the commitment from top-10 forward Isaiah Todd, or his team's rise up the national polls.
It seems that every prospect that I speak with brings up Michigan. Unlike his predecessor, Howard had decided to chase after the best of the best to add to his roster.
Howard did a great job of hiring a strong staff but it his NBA background and humility that has endeared him to the very best within the high school sport. Todd was the first to say yes to the Wolverines, but he will not be the last.
That is to say that I like where Michigan sits with top-40 center Hunter Dickinson and also would not be surprised if Terrance Williams joins his former travel teammate in Ann Arbor next year. Add in four-star guard Zeb Jackson and potentially Jace Howard, the head coach's son, and what you’d have is a top-10 recruiting class.
VANDERBILT GOES THE TRANSFER ROUTE
While Howard is primarily focused on the high school ranks, Jerry Stackhouse has done a great job of winning a number of transfer battles as he continues to reshape the Vanderbilt program.
Stackhouse took over a Commodores program that was in major need of a roster overhaul. Losing Darius Garland to the NBA, along with Simi Shittu, didn’t help, so Stack started to look more toward adding experience via the transfer realm instead of the traditional high school platform.
D.J. Harvey was a major win earlier this year as the former Notre Dame wing should chip in immediately next year, as will Quentin Millora-Brown. Both are sitting out this season due to transfer restrictions.
Rivals150 guard Isaac McBride, who enrolled at Kansas and abruptly left the program in September, fell off of the map following his transfer this fall. It didn’t cause much of a commotion earlier last week, but McBride committed to the Commodores, giving Stackhouse a talented combo guard that brings great toughness and versatility to the backcourt.
It still remains to be seen how Vanderbilt (6-2) will fare during league play as the team has faced a rather undaunting non-conference slate, but Stackhouse is showing there is more than just one way to skin a cat.
BATES BEGINS TO BE RECRUITED
For as good as Emoni Bates is, and many in the industry believe that he has the potential to be the best prospect we have seen in a decade, one would automatically assume that he would lead one of the more pressure-packed, national recruitments. That wasn't necessarily true until now.
This time last year, the expectation was that the one-and-done rule be no longer be in place by the time the 2022 NBA Draft arrived. Seeing that Bates is the elite of the elite, chances were that he would surpass college entirely and jump directly to the league.
However, here we are a year later and the feeling is that if the one-and-done were to be erased, that it would not be until after 2022. This all means that college could be a legitimate avenue that Bates takes in three years. His recruitment, once practically non-existent, has now picked up.
This fall, the in-state powers, Michigan and Michigan State, began to kick things into higher gear where Bates visited each program. On Tuesday night, Juwan Howard, who was flanked by an assistant coach and former Fab Five teammate, Jalen Rose, were in attendance for Bates' season-opener, as was Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and two of his assistant coaches.
Bluebloods are going to jump into the conversation for Bates, but it is just nice to be having this conversation. Just a year ago, the chances of Bates ever attending college felt to be non-existent.
A lot could change in the meantime. NBA commissioner Adam Silver could quickly make a push for high school seniors to jump directly to college, or Bates could skip college and choose the NBL like R.J. Hampton. Bates could also try the traditional path, remain in his 2022 graduating class and take a shot at college glory before eventually moving onto the NBA.