Assessing Emoni Bates, G.G. Jackson, and Zachary Davis
December 30th, 2022
By Alan Lu
Today, I decided to take the time to watch G.G. Jackson and South Carolina play against Emoni Bates and Eastern Michigan in a midseason, college basketball game. It was a very entertaining contest in which both prospects played well, and Bates was able to make one tough shot effortlessly after another. From a team perspective though, South Carolina had control for most of this game, and were able to handily over Eastern Michigan, as Eastern Michigan couldn’t muster much offense outside of Bates’ shooting and scoring prowess. Here are my thoughts on how Bates, Jackson, and other various prospects fared in this match.
Emoni Bates had a tremendous showing in his team’s loss to South Carolina. He did a terrific job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he is a tall, very skilled 6-9 forward that can deftly create his own shot due to possessing great size, shooting, and ball handling skills combined with having solid agility and athleticism that allows him to get any shot he wants. Bates did a terrific job of knocking down threes, as he was able to make spot-up threes from way out, he can pull up to make them effortlessly on the break, and he also made a smooth step-back three from beyond the arc.
He showed tight handles and impressive footwork, and he did a very good job of making mid-range jumpers, as well as turnaround jumpers from the post. He struggled more in trying to score when he would look to drive all the way to the rim as he would sometimes rush his shots, but he was able to take on contact late in this game, which would’ve netted him a score and an extra free throw had the officials given him continuation on the play, but they called a non-shooting foul on the opponent before that. Even though Bates had a propensity to take very difficult shots due to being the only consistent and reliable scorer on his team, he showed impressive handles and combined it with having a tremendous shooting display to really have a night, as he was able to make tough shots look easy time and time again.
Also, Bates showcased satisfactory playmaking skills. He handled the ball really well, and he also was able to make the extra pass to find some open shooters. Late in this match, he was able to bring it up and throw a lead pass to find the open man to notch an assist. He tended to throw good touch passes as he was able to find roll men on the move, and he passed out of a double team to get the ball to a roll man once in this game.
There was one time where he tried to push the ball up the court off of a defensive rebound, but had it stripped away from him to commit a turnover, but usually he did a solid job of making decisions with the ball in his hands when he was on the floor. He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball, and Bates was able to save a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board once. Defensively, he seemed to be active at contesting shots, and he was able to contest a shot in the post to force a miss once.
In general, Emoni Bates put forth a magnificent performance in his team’s loss to South Carolina. He is a tremendously talented prospect, and I feel that he is a very underrated player. He definitely has the skills to be a lottery pick, but his stock hasn’t climbed as much as anticipated, perhaps due to his inconsistent, turbulent freshman season at Memphis and clashes with head coach Penny Hardaway, as well as the gun charge that he was arrested for prior to the start of the season (he was since given probation and that can be cleared from his record if he completes probation). Still, he is an extremely skilled prospect that has a terrific blend of size, shooting and scoring skills, and handles, and he easily should be a first round pick in the 2023 draft. Emoni Bates is one of the most talented prospects that could be in the 2023 draft, and he has superstar potential, and if he realizes close to his full potential, he could end up being an All-Star similar to New Orleans Pelicans’ forward, Brandon Ingram in the NBA.
G.G. Jackson had a decent showing in his team’s win over Eastern Michigan. He was streaky with his jump shot and was a bit turnover prone, but he is a very athletic forward that showed off versatile scoring skills, showed a penchant for making the right basketball play, and he also did a great job of making corner threes in this game.
Jackson did a very good job of making threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense, especially off the catch. He thrived at making corner threes, and he did a good job of making standstill threes. He also was able to pull up to knock down a three-pointer late in this match, but he struggled to make some threes when he would take them from way out.
He also was active in scoring on hustle plays. He managed to throw down a thunderous dunk off of a roll to the rim, and he also drew free throws on a tip-in another time. Jackson was able to score on a fadeaway jumper out of the post. On the downside, he struggled to find a consistent rhythm out of the post or off the dribble, and he ended up taking some shots that led to misses around the basket.
Also, he displayed average at best playmaking skills. On one really good play, Jackson drove to the hoop and threw a nice bounce pass to a cutter to set up a scoring opportunity for his teammate. He also threw accurate entry passes to get his teammates post touches. However, he would sometimes throw inaccurate passes despite making some solid reads, which would lead to turnovers. He also had a ball ripped away from him in the high post that led to another turnover.
Plus, Jackson did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he would chase down balls to aggressively get boards on both sides of the ball. He also played decent defense in this game. He would consistently stay in front of his man, as he would use his length and positioning to contest shots, and he did a good job of contesting shots off drives to force misses. Sometimes though, he would allow opponents to score on outside shots despite contesting them, and there was one play where he didn’t actively contest a pull-up, mid-range jumper, which led his team to allow the score.
In summary, G.G. Jackson had a solid showing, and he made big strides as a shooter to help his team on offense. It remains to be seen if he can develop into an elite shot creator at the NBA level, and his handles didn’t seem to be especially tight at times. Still, he is a very athletic, versatile forward that like Bates, has an immense amount of upside. Jackson is a solid prospect that reminds me of Portland Trail Blazers’ forward, Jerami Grant. Jackson is a versatile player that could be able to fit into any system at the NBA level, and he should be a lottery pick in the 2023 draft.
South Carolina’s 6-8 freshman forward, Zachary Davis made quite the impression when he raced in to hammer down a very athletic tip slam after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound. He also managed to score on a drive to the hoop, and he also blocked a shot off of a drive on the defensive end. Davis is a very athletic, high-motor player that thrived at making energetic plays on both ends of the floor, and he could end up being a solid role player similar to Chicago Bulls’ forward, Derrick Jones Jr. in the NBA.
Chico Carter Jr. had a solid showing in his team’s win over Eastern Michigan. He didn’t make any flashy plays, but he was very effective on the court, especially on offense. He thrived as a shooter, scorer off the dribble, and at scoring on fast breaks. He also defended well, and he was able to pickpocket a ball handler to help his team get a steal. Carter is a skilled playmaker that excelled as a scorer and defender, and he could end up making his way to an NBA summer league team’s roster sometime in the near future.
As for Eastern Michigan’s other players not named Emoni Bates, none of the other players on their team stood out, as they really weren’t able to provide much offense alongside him. Eastern Michigan really needed another player to step up alongside Bates, and that no other player besides Bates could score at least 10 points or more really made it much more difficult for Eastern Michigan than it needed to be.
Some of this was that South Carolina also played very good defense, but Eastern Michigan needs another reliable scorer to pair alongside Bates, especially if they have plans on getting to the NCAA Tournament. Bates has been really good, but Eastern Michigan’s basketball team has been disappointing so far, as they have now dropped to 3-10, and they will most likely need to win the MAC’s conference tournament to be able to get into the 2023 NCAA Tournament. After a close loss to Michigan, Eastern Michigan had some disappointing losses since, and from a team perspective, they are facing an uphill road if they want to be able to get invited to a postseason tournament in March.
As for South Carolina, this was another solid win for them, and this could help them build momentum for the in-conference part of the season, especially as they will play against some very tough SEC teams later on. G.G. Jackson has proved to be a solid player for them and one they can rely on on both ends of the floor, they’ve received good guard play lately, and they’ve defended well recently.
South Carolina is playing in a very tough conference and their 7-6 record isn’t great, but it’s not bad, either, and that they have been able to get a couple of nice wins over Western Kentucky and Eastern Michigan could give them some much needed confidence for when they head into the SEC part of their season. As of right now, they may be a bubble team that will need more big wins on their resume to be able to get into the NCAA Tournament, but if South Carolina plays well against other SEC teams, they could be able to lock down a spot to get in the 2023 NCAA Tournament in March.
Anyways, those were my thoughts on how Bates, Jackson, and other various prospects fared in this game. Thanks for reading.