NIL Allure: Elite Recruits Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren Are College Bound


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Precedent.


What is the language of origin?


Middle English and comes from the Latin word, praecēdent.


What is the definition?


Precedent is an earlier event or action regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.


Could you use it in a sentence?


Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates set a precedent for future elite high school basketball recruits eligible for college the following year to choose college basketball over professional options.


Two dates shook the college basketball world: August 6, 2021, and August 25, 2021. First, the 4th ranked recruit in the class of 2021 Jalen Duren committed to play college basketball instead of professionally.


Then Emoni Bates, ranked 5th in the class of 2021, followed Jalen’s precedent.


Both Duren and Bates committed to play for the University of Memphis and Coach Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers. Though I love the Memphis Tigers, being from the most beautiful land in the world, this article is not about the Tigers.


This article is about what the commitments of two mega recruits mean for college basketball and those pro-options. But before I fully answer that question, I must analyze why Duren and Bates turned down lucrative offers to play professionally.


As I said in my previous article for Conduct Detrimental, money talks. Jalen Green made $500,000 to play for G League Ignite. Reports swirled before Duren’s commitment on August 6 of an offer from the G League of over $1 million to play for the Ignite, twice what Green made.


Though no reports have come out related to the G League’s offer to Bates, considering his massive profile, it is safe to assume it would’ve been around Duren’s offer of $1 million, if not more.


But Francis, I thought money talks? Why would high school kids turn down that kind of money?


Three words: Name; Image; and likeness.


Gary Parrish, a college basketball writer for CBS Sports, said this in an interview reacting to Emoni’s decision:


“Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga … had to choose between the money the G League could provide or a scholarship and a cost of attendance stipend, and legally, nothing else more. Jalen Duren … Emoni Bates didn't have to make that decision … they're not picking between getting paid to play basketball and not getting paid to play basketball. Jalen Duren at Memphis is going to make … in excess of $1 million because of name, image, and likeness rights. And Emoni Bates … is going to do the same thing ... You (Bates) could probably make more money at … Memphis than you would … at the G League.”


Brooks Hansen, the lead writer at the Memphis Tigers 24/7 sports website, said in a podcast reacting to Jalen Duren’s commitment, “Memphis would not have landed Jalen Duren without NIL, period. For elite level prospects, NIL is a game-changer.”


Jalen Duren even said it himself when discussing NIL: “It eliminated the money factor … NIL leveled the playing field. It made it where some athletes are going to be fortunate to make more in college than they would in the professional route.”


Exactly.


But Francis, what about other top prospects like Jaden Hardy, No. 3 in the class of 2021, who still signed to the G League, or 17-year-old Tyler Smith, No. 8 in the class of 2023, who recently chose to play for Overtime Elite? Doesn’t that prove elite prospects will still choose to play professionally?


Of course, talented high school basketball players will still choose the professional route. These options give kids who cannot be eligible to play college basketball the following year, like Tyler Smith, a chance to immediately make money and provide for their families.


For Jaden Hardy, he made his decision on May 15, well before NIL was passed on July 1.

So what do Bates and Duren’s decisions mean for college basketball and the pro options?


I have no doubt the G League and fellow professional routes will still attract their share of talent. But this talent will mostly consist of younger high school players looking to make money right away. As for elite recruits eligible to play college basketball the following season: money talks, and NIL makes the most noise.


Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates set a precedent for future elite high school basketball recruits eligible for college the following year to choose college basketball over professional options.