First Look at Emoni Bates, and Watching Jalen Duren in the Memphis-Saint Louis Game

November 17th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I decided to watch Emoni Bates, Jalen Duren and the Memphis Tigers play against my alma mater, the Saint Louis Billikens in an early season, non-conference basketball game.  Saint Louis’ best player, Javonte Perkins went down to an ACL injury before the season began, so he was unable to play in this match.  Bates and Duren managed to bring forth impressive performances as they led Memphis to a double-digit win over Saint Louis.  Here are my thoughts on how they and other various prospects fared on this day.

Memphis’ freshman forward, Emoni Bates played very well, and he scored 16 points and made 3 three-pointers in his team’s win over Saint Louis.
(Photo:
Karen Pulfer Focht/Associated Press)

Emoni Bates had a strong showing in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He is a very athletic swingman that showed off strong all-around skills in this game, and he is a gifted shooter that has a lot of range, and he also showed off deft ball-handling and solid defensive skills when he was on the court. Bates shot the ball very well, especially from downtown.  He showed a knack for pulling to make an open three-point shots off the dribble from way out.  He also dribbled left off of a screen and drew free throws after taking a mid-range floater.  He also excelled at scoring off the dribble.  He handles the ball and changes directions very well, and he showed a knack for scoring on crafty, reverse layups.  He even managed to use a behind-the-back dribble move to score on a reverse layup once.  Plus, Bates also ran the floor to get the ball, and he was able to score on a thunderous dunk on the break another time.

He also displayed perhaps adequate playmaking skills on offense.  Bates showed that he can throw solid interior passes off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates.  He was able to dribble off of a screen to throw a nice, no-look wraparound pass to set up a score for a roll man.  He also managed to find a cutter on the move to notch another assist.  He handles the ball very well, has good court vision, and he also showed a knack for throwing no-look passes and passes off the dribble to set up plenty of scoring chances for his teammates.  On the downside, he was quite turnover prone in this game.  Sometimes he would try to be too fancy with his passes, and he threw an inaccurate shovel pass that ended up out of bounds.  Other times, he would struggle to handle the ball when pressured, which would lead him to commit ball-handling turnovers.

Also, he was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive boards, and Bates would bring the ball up the floor afterwards.  He also managed to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get another defensive board. Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  For the positives, Bates did a very good job of rotating to block shots off of drives to help his team protect the paint, due to possessing very good athleticism, length, and timing.  He also managed to contest a mid-range floater to force a miss another time.  On the downside, there would be times where he would be too aggressive in going for the ball.  He bit on a pump fake when rotating to the post which led him to be out of position, and he also committed a quick reach-in foul another time when defending an opposing ball handler in transition.  He also got beat off the dribble another time that led him to commit a foul.  On a separate play, he didn’t track the ball or his man when the shot was in the air, and he didn’t box out his man as he allowed his opponent to get an offensive rebound to score on a put back.

In general, Emoni Bates played very well in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He put forth a very impressive performance in this game, and he is a very athletic swingman that excelled as a sharpshooter and scorer while also showing deft ball-handling and shot-blocking skills.  He is a very talented player that could be the frontrunner to be the top pick of the 2023 draft.

Jalen Duren had a solid showing in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He is a very athletic center that excelled as an interior player in this game, and he showed a knack for making highlight reel-worthy plays on both ends of the floor. Duren showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to catch a lob pass off of a roll to score on a powerful, alley-oop dunk.  He also ran in to score on a thunderous tip slam off of an offensive rebound.  He also ran the floor to get the ball and utilized a pump fake to score on a backwards, flip layup while getting an extra free throw.  Plus, he also would make strong moves to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the foul line.  On the downside, he struggled to consistently make his free throws when he would get there.

On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Duren is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man.  He was able to save a ball by throwing a no-look, behind the back pass to a shooter.  He also did a good job of setting screens to help his teammates get open jump shots and driving lanes.  On the other hand, he was called for setting a moving screen once.  He also apparently stepped over the line when trying to inbound the basketball to commit another turnover due to carelessness.

Also, Duren did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often chase down balls to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor, and he also would tip balls to his teammates to help his team get other rebounds.  He also played solid defense in this game.  Duren did a very good job of blocking shots, as he would often rotate to swat shots in the paint, and he also successfully defended a drive on a switch to swat a shot to himself another time.  He also would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  He also would use his length to contest shots to force misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes get confused as to who to guard on screens, and he would allow easy catches to roll men in the paint, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In summary, Jalen Duren played well, as he excelled as an interior player in this game.  He did a great job of finishing plays around the basket, and he also showed a knack for rebounding and blocking shots.  He is a very athletic big man that has a lot of talent, and he currently may be poised to be a likely lottery pick in the 2022 draft.

Josh Minott played very well in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He is an athletic, high-motor combo forward that did a great job of scoring the basketball, especially around the basket, and he also showed off a solid ability to make plays on both ends of the floor. Minott showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He especially excelled at scoring on fast breaks and rolls to the rim.  He ran the floor to score on an emphatic, two-handed jam.  He also ran the floor to get the ball another time, and he used a ball fake to score quickly while getting an extra free throw afterwards.  Plus, he would throw down dunks off of rolls to the rim, and he also managed to score on a powerful alley-oop dunk in this game. 

Plus, he also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  Minott was able to drive right to the hoop, as he managed to dribble gracefully around the defender to score off the glass.  He also drove aggressively towards the baseline to draw free throws another time.  On the downside, he did not look to take a jumper from outside of the paint area. He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man.  He was able to throw a shovel pass to get the ball to a teammate down low to set up a score for him on the break.  He also was able to make a drive and kick pass on a separate possession.  Plus, Minott also did not turn the ball over in this game.

Also, he was able to chase down a pair of balls to help his team get a couple of defensive rebounds in this game.  On the downside, Minott was called for committing an over the back foul when going for a defensive board once.  He also played adequate defense in this game.  Minott was active in contesting shots around the basket.  He was able to block a shot off of a put back to a teammate, and he excelled at contesting put backs to force misses.  He also was able to poke a ball away to nearly get a steal, and he would loosely contest mid-range shots to help get stops for his team.  On the other hand, he didn’t always move his feet well, and he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit reach-in fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would commit reach-in fouls due to trying to be too aggressive in going for steals.

Overall, Josh Minott had a solid showing in this game.  He primarily excelled at attacking the hoop to score the basketball.  On the other hand, he will need to extend his shooting range and show that he can comfortably play out on the perimeter, as he may be in between forward positions.  Still, he is an athletic forward that could project to go in the late first to the second round range on draft day.

Landers Nolley II had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He struggled to consistently knock down shots, but he looked to be much faster and more athletic than how he looked before, and he excelled as a rebounder and defender in this game. Nolley did a good job of scoring on off-ball motion plays.  He was able to score on a backdoor cut to the hoop.  He also did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble.  He was able to use and up and under move to score on a smooth, mid-range baseline jumper off the dribble.  He also showed a knack for drawing free throws when driving to the hoop.  On the other hand, there was one play where he missed quickly when driving to the basket.  He also struggled to consistently knock down his outside shots, and he also missed on all of his three-point points that he hoisted up from beyond the arc.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that would consistently find open shooters to set up scores for them, and he can make passes off the dribble and in transition to do so.  Sometimes though, he can tend to make hasty decisions that would lead him to commit turnovers.  On one play, he threw a hasty pass in which his teammate fell that went out of bounds.  He also tried to back his man down in the post, but he ended up committing a charging foul that time.

Also, Nolley did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to push the ball up the floor off of a defensive board late in this match.  He also played good defense in this game.  Nolley would often block shots to help his team protect the paint, and he would usually swat them to his teammates.  He also would deflect passes to nearly get steals, and he also would close out on three-point shooters to force misses. On the downside, he would sometimes be foul prone.  He ended up getting outmuscled on a drive, which led him to commit a foul.  He also was called for a foul when defending in the post off the ball.

Overall, Landers Nolley II didn’t have his best game, but he looked to be in much better shape athletically.  He didn’t shoot the ball well, but he played much better in the non-shooting or scoring related elements of the game.  Currently, he is a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, and he could project into a 3 and D role in the NBA.

DeAndre Williams had a decent showing in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He is a tall, athletic forward that was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor.  He did a decent job of scoring off the dribble and in the post.  Early on, Williams was able to utilize a jump stop to score on a floater.  He also would drive hard to the hoop to draw fouls when looking to score off the dribble.  He also managed to score on a couple of turnaround jumpers when posting up.  On the downside, he also would sometimes miss in the post, and he also had his shot blocked once.  He also didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside, as he missed on a long two, and he also missed completely when taking an open three-point shot once.

On the other hand, he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Williams is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also can handle the basketball.  He did commit a couple of turnovers, though, and he can struggle to handle the ball when facing heavy ball pressure.  When driving to the hoop once, he was called for a charging foul.  He also brought the ball up the court, but had it stolen away from him from behind another time.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Williams was able to chase down balls to help his team get defensive boards, and he was able to push the ball up the floor off of one late in this contest.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Williams showed a knack for poking balls away to get steals and deflections.  He also was able to hustle back to contest a shot off of a drive in transition to force a miss.  On the downside, he would sometimes get outmuscled when defending stronger opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also got beat on a crossover move when defending a drive to allow a basket another time.

Overall, DeAndre Williams was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to improve his ball-handling skills, and add more strength to be able to handle stronger players defensively.  Currently, he is a second round candidate for the 2022 draft.

Earl Timberlake didn’t play very well in this game.  He was held scoreless, and he rarely looked to shoot the basketball.  He also was turnover and foul prone against Saint Louis on this day.  He missed on a pull-up, mid-range jumper badly early on.  He also drove hard to the hoop to get to the free throw line, but he missed on both of his free throws.

He also was quite turnover prone, despite handling the ball quite often and running the point at times.  Timberlake would throw weak, inaccurate passes that would go astray.  He also dribbled around for too long another time, and he had the ball stolen away from him to commit another turnover.  Also, Timberlake was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive boards. 

Defensively though, he struggled in this game.  For the positives, he was able to run in to intercept a long pass to get a steal.  He also managed to contest a three-point shot to get a stop on the defensive end.  However, he would tend to be too aggressive and undisciplined on that side of the ball.  He would commit aggressive fouls when defending opposing ball handlers and going for the ball.  He also bit on a pump fake when rotating to the post to commit a foul.  He also was late to get out on a shooter, which led his team to allow an opponent to score on an open corner three.

Overall, Earl Timberlake did not have a great game, and this was not a great showcase for his skills in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He will need to shoot better and take better care of the basketball.  Currently, he is a borderline second round candidate for the 2022 draft.

Lester Quinones had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He didn’t take many shots, but he was able to intercept a pass and score quickly afterwards.  He also showed a knack for making strong moves to the hoop to draw free throws.  Plus, he also rebounded the ball well. On the downside, he didn’t shoot the ball well from the outside, and he also had trouble handling the ball at times, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  He also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble, and he ended up being foul prone in this game.

Overall, he did not have a great game, but his teammates were able to pick up the slack.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter in games, and he will need to show that he can defend quicker opponents on a more consistent basis.  Currently, he is a second round candidate for the 2022 draft.

Terrence Hargrove Jr. had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Memphis.  He is a very athletic guard that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He excelled at scoring in transition, and he also showed a knack for scoring on strong, left-handed drives on fast breaks.  Plus, he also managed to catch a lob off of a baseline cut to score on a strong, alley-oop dunk. 

He also showed that he can knock down mid-range jumpers off the dribble, and he also was able to make an open corner three.  On the downside, he would tend to miss or get his shots blocked when driving hard to the hoop on half-court drives, and he would struggle to score in traffic.  He also didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from the outside, and he had trouble knocking down spot-up threes in this game.

He also was able to throw an accurate outlet pass to help set up a score for a teammate on offense.  Hargrove also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to chase down numerous boards to help his team get rebounds, and he was able to push the ball up the floor off of a defensive board late in this match.   Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Hargrove was able to intercept a pass to get a steal.  He also successfully drew a charge another time.  Plus, he also did a decent job of contesting outside shots to help his team force some misses.  On the downside, he would tend to be too aggressive when defending in the paint or making plays on the ball, and it would lead him to be foul prone.

Overall, Terrence Hargrove showed some promise as a very athletic, high-motor swingman in this game.  He can finish plays above the rim, and he also was active as a rebounder and defender.  On the other hand, he also didn’t shoot the ball very well, and he also tended to pick up quick fouls on the defensive end at times.  He will need to improve his outside shot and be a more focused defender in games, but his athletic gifts combined with his ability to make energetic plays could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.

Jordan Nesbitt didn’t have a great game, but he was able to make some good plays to help his team at times.  Nesbitt showed some ability to score off the dribble, and he was able to use a quick crossover move to score on an acrobatic, double-pump layup in traffic.  He also used a crossover move to make a step-back three to show off his shooting skills.  On the downside, he often had his shots blocked when driving to the hoop, and he also had trouble knocking down outside shots in this game.

He was able to get the ball to shooters to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  Nesbitt would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played solid defense.  Nesbitt excelled at swiping and poking balls away to get steals and deflections, and he also managed to block a shot around the hoop to showcase his athleticism, timing, and instincts.  However, he can tend to be too aggressive at times, which can lead him to commit fouls when defending opposing ball handlers off the dribble.

Overall, Nesbitt didn’t shoot the ball very well in this game, but he is an athletic swingman that defended well when he was on the court.  He will need to show that he can play well against top-notch competition, but his athleticism, ability to create his own shot, and defensive skills could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA sometime in the future.

Francis Okoro didn’t have his best game in his team’s loss to Memphis, but he is a strong, athletic big man that was able to make some solid plays around the hoop to help shore up his team’s interior.  Okoro showed a knack for drawing free throws on strong moves to the hoop, but he would often miss when he wouldn’t get foul calls.  He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball, and he especially excelled at crashing the glass to get offensive rebounds. 

Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  He did a great job of blocking shots from all over the floor due to possessing good length, athleticism, and motor.  He also would tend to swat those shots to his teammates.  He also was able to poke a ball away and intercept a pass to get steals.  On the downside, he would tend to over-hedge onto opposing ball handlers and not get back to roll men, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on dunks.  He also would be late on his rotations, which would often lead him to commit fouls.

Overall, Francis Okoro did not play very well, and he showed promise as an interior player in this game.  He will need to improve and expand his game on offense, but his ability to rebound and block shots combined with having solid athletic gifts could enable him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.

Memphis’ 5-9 senior point guard, Tyler Harris had a strong showing in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He made an immediate impact when he came in the game, and he did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball.  He showed his sharpshooting prowess by making an abundance of open threes as he showed a knack for making them off the catch, and he also pulled up to make an open three off the dribble later on.  He also showed a knack for scoring on smooth mid-range jumpers off the dribble, and he also drove to the hoop to score another time.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Harris is a quick, agile guard that can consistently get into the lane, and he would throw accurate outlet passes and kick balls out to shooters to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  Sometimes though, he would try to do too much on offense.  He would try to split double teams when looking to make plays off the dribble.  It led him to get the ball stolen away from him once, and he also threw a weak pass that got intercepted another time.

Plus, he also was able to chase down an offensive board to help get a rebound for his team.  Defensively, Harris looked to be fairly average.  He was able to jump on an errant pass to get a steal, and he also poked a ball away to nearly get another.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge another time.  On the downside, he would give up too much space to shooters, and his lack of size would make it difficult for him to contest outside shots.  He also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble, and he also committed an aggressive reach-in foul another time.

Overall, Tyler Harris played very well in his team’s win over Saint Louis.  He is a diminutive, speedy playmaker that excelled as a sharpshooter and shot maker in this game.  His lack of size may make it difficult for him to guard opponents on the defensive end, and it is uncertain if his game would translate as well to the NBA.  He also was given ample time and space to knock down outside shots, though he did shoot the ball very well in this game.  He has the skills to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season, and he could end up having a lengthy playing career in professional basketball, even if he doesn’t end up playing in the NBA.

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