On Thursday, former Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and the University of Colorado Boulder football head coach Deion Sanders went viral for comments they made on X (formerly known as Twitter).
Cavaliers rookie Emoni Bates took to Instagram to touch on James’ and Sanders’ viral comments.
Bates was selected with the No. 49 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft by the Cavaliers following two seasons playing college basketball — one at the University of Memphis and one at Eastern Michigan University.
Bates’ freshman season when he was a member of the Tigers, the 2021-22 season, was forgettable. He averaged 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.6 steals per game across 18 appearances with the team (13 starts). Also, Bates struggled to score the ball efficiently from the field, seeing as he converted just 38.6 percent of his field-goal attempts and 32.9 percent of his three-point attempts as a freshman.
But during the 6-foot-9 forward’s sophomore season, the 2022-23 season, Bates emerged as one of the better players at his position in the nation. He averaged 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.7 steals per game across 30 appearances with the Eagles.
Those numbers were good enough for Bates to earn a spot on the All-MAC team.
Arguably Bates’ top performance during his time with the Eagles came in a loss against the University of Toledo back in January. He finished with a whopping 43 points to go along with seven rebounds in 40 minutes of playing time. Additionally, Bates converted 15 of his 23 field-goal attempts, including nine of his 14 three-point attempts in the 84-79 loss.
The 19-year-old’s contributions on the offensive end of the floor didn’t translate to a lot of wins at all for the 2022-23 iteration of the Eagles, however. They finished the season with a poor 8-23 record and missed out on the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s to hoping that Bates will see some playing time with the Cavaliers during the 2023-24 regular season. After all, the rookie has the scoring chops to be an effective player off of Cleveland’s bench. The Cavaliers are replete with depth at the forward position, however, so Bates will likely have to turn some heads during the preseason in order to be considered for a rotation spot during the regular season.