Emoni Bates takes center stage as part of a top-10 showdown Tuesday when Memphis hosts No. 6 Alabama.

Bates and the Tigers are struggling as they have lost four straight games since opening the season 5-0. It’s been a relatively uneventful start for the five-star freshman who leads the Tigers in scoring with 11.2 points per game on just 38.8 percent shooting.

NBA fans tuning in to see Bates for the first time might wonder why his name doesn’t appear in early mock drafts and has nothing to do with his slow start.

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Why is Memphis star Emoni Bates ineligible for the 2022 NBA Draft?

Bates is a highly touted prospect, ranked No. 2 in the high school class of 2022 before opting to reclassify to the class of 2021. Even as a reclassified 17-year-old, Bates was still ranked No. 4 in the class of 2021, receiving offers from all the major programs in the country.

The 6-foot-9 forward originally got engaged to Michigan State to play head coach Tom Izzo in June 2020, but changed his mind and decided to attend Memphis to play head coach Penny Hardaway.

This decision allowed Bates to team up with his AAU career partner and possible top-five pick in the 2022 NBA Draft in Jalen Duren, giving the Tigers one of the most talented duos in the country. entering the season ranked 12th by Associates. Press.

Bates was voted a Sporting News preseason All-American Second Team and is often compared to NBA superstar Kevin Durant because of his slim figure and ability to score the ball from anywhere on the court.

Without a doubt, he is one of the best prospects in the country, but under current NBA rules, Bates will not be able to enter his name in the 2022 NBA Draft.

The NBA draft eligibility rules state that all selected players must be at least 19 years old within their draft calendar year, which means that Bates would have to turn 19 in 2022 to be eligible for the NBA Draft. 2022.

Since his birthday is January 28, 2004, Bates is currently 17 years old and will only be 18 by the end of 2022.

That means you will have to play two seasons in Memphis and then enter the draft, or play one season in Memphis and take the following year off to train for the draft before being eligible in 2023.

While there have been talks in the past to lower the NBA draft eligibility age to 18 years, there have been no updates on the progress of those talks before the 2022 NBA Draft.

Barring a rule change, Bates will have to wait until 2023 for NBA commissioner Adam Silver to call him by name.