Kansas Basketball lost out on another class of 2021 target in Tamar Bates. Should Jayhawk fans be worried about the overall class?
On Friday, Kansas Basketball fans were waiting on a decision by four-star combo guard Tamar Bates. The 6’4 playmaker is ranked right outside the top-100 but is viewed as a potential college star in due time. The Kansas City, Kansas native was always viewed as a likely to stay local to the Jayhawks, and even some recruiting experts agreed.
But in the past few days, those feelings changed away from Kansas. It was another Big 12 program competiting for Bates that ultimately landed his signature.
It’s a huge win for the Texas Longhorns to land Bates in the 2021 recruiting class. He’s the highest-rated player of the current four-man recruiting class and can be a rotational player a year from now after Matt Coleman and Jase Febres. His scoring ability will be nice for Coach Shaka Smart and the program, as they round out their recruiting class.
But Kansas also had plenty of available playing time for Bates if he chose them. Starting point guard Marcus Garrett is a rising senior, while five-star incoming freshmen Bryce Thompson is a “one and done” NBA Draft candidate. If both are gone, there’s a legit possibility that Bates could’ve started at point in 2021-22. That’s what makes a local top-100 talent not picking the Jayhawks all the more intriguing of a storyline.
That makes the second local recruit in the 2021 class having not joined Kansas, along with five-star wing Kendall Brown picking the Baylor Bears instead. One potential reason could be the possible looming sanctions from the NCAA regarding past recruiting violations involving head coach Bill Self. Fellow Big 12 peer Oklahoma State is currently appealing a one-year postseason ban from the NCAA for their problems and in comparison, the Jayhawks allegations are much bigger.
Even for a one-year ban and scholarship reductions, that can be a major driving force for prospects to go elsewhere. But there also are other factors. According to “Hookem.com”, Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesmen, Bates’ desire to play for an African-American head coach was a big factor in his decision;
“It was very important and I feel like I can help get something started.,” Bates said. “It was important to me to show that I am actually going to do it. I feel like Black coaches don’t get the same opportunities to get good players at their schools. I want to go and start something at Texas and bring back the winning tradition”.
There’s nothing really that Coach Self and Kansas can do if this is the reasoning, just respect it and move on. But on the court, this is a major blow for the program to lose out on a local recruit. The dark cloud regarding the sanctions still is a concern, which may factor in the recruitment of the Jayhawks other two high-profile guard targets in Hunter Sallis and JD Davison. Both are legit “one and done” talents so whether the team can convince either to come to Lawrence remains to be seen.
The good news for Kansas Basketball is that they still have a pair of top-100 forward commits already in Zach Clemence and KJ Adams. So the frontcourt is secure. But with the future of Thompson unknown, they’ll need to land a top-tier ball-handler in the 2021 class to avoid major roster holes. There aren’t many on the board left with so many making early decisions.
But if Kansas fans can find any positives from this, is that Bates reasoning in picking Texas has more to do with his own sincere beliefs more than anything negative regarding this program. It’s rare for the Jayhawks to lose out on the recruiting battle but it’s on to the next one.