Indiana Basketball: Tamar Bates, an unexpected blessing for IU

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Indiana has an exciting new addition to the 2021-22 roster in 6-5 freshman guard, Tamar “Scoop” Bates. Scoop was kind of an unexpected blessing for the Hoosiers, at least for Indiana fans. It didn’t seem like he was on any of our radars, but he was certainly on the Indiana staff’s wish list.

At one time Bates was committed to Texas, but he reopened his recruitment when Texas coach, Shaka Smart, left to take the open job at Marquette. That is when Indiana managed to step in and nab him.

I personally don’t put a whole lot of stock in national recruit ratings. We have seen too many players come to IU not ranked very highly by the 247’s and ESPN’s of the college basketball world, yet they come into the program, work their tail off and end up in the NBA.

Indiana Hoosiers Basketball
Indiana Hoosiers Basketball /

Indiana Hoosiers Basketball

However, if you are into that, you will be pleased with Scoop’s numbers. His final 247 Sports ranking climbed to No. 26 in the 2021 class. 247 considers the top 25 players 5-star recruits. You can’t get much closer to being a 5-star than Scoop did.

At the end of the day though, those are just numbers. What Mike Woodson and staff have recruited in Bates is a guard with great length and a young man who prides himself on being a two-way player. If he maintains that defensive focus and focuses are becoming a lock-down defender on the perimeter for Indiana, his impact for the Hoosiers will be huge, scoring aside.

You might look at Scoop’s senior year high school stats and find them underwhelming. What you need to know about that is, he played at prep powerhouse IMG Academy in Florida his senior season, where he was surrounded by division one talent. In his junior season, back in Kansas, he was the 2020 All-Classes Player of the year.

His senior season at IMG he averaged 11.4 points a game and shot 40% from the three-point line. I expect similar numbers at Indiana this season because in some ways Scoop already has a year of experience playing at a very high level.

One of the ways Scoop distinguished himself at IMG was on the defensive end, where according to Scoop, he was often tasked with guarding the other team’s best perimeter player. It was a role that Scoop relished and took great pride in. You have to love that.

It’s hard to gauge a whole lot from watching highlight videos from a guy’s prep days, but there are some things about Scoop’s game that jump off the screen at you. One, he plays with some swagger. You can see the passion he plays with. That’s an intangible that you can’t teach.

Second, Scoop has a strong mid-range game and can stop on a dime and pull up and make a jump shot. That adds so much to a player’s offense.

Third, he is going to be great in transition. He is a long rangy player, whose body reminds me a little bit of former Hoosier, Troy Williams. Hopefully, he is as electric on the fastbreak as Troy was.

On top of all the intangibles and the physical tools Scoop brings to the table, Scoop seems to be a really high character guy from a great family. In his short time in Bloomington, Scoop and his family have already shown that Scoop seems to be ready for the big stage.

Related Story. Tamar Bates and family already making an impact on Indiana Basketball. light

After Scoop signed with Indiana, Mike Woodson had this to say about him, “Tamar is a tremendous young man who will bring so much to our program. I think the first thing that stands out to me is that he is a winner. He brings a high level of energy on the court and is regarded as an unselfish teammate. He is an outstanding defender who makes 3-pointers at a high percentage, can attack the rim, has great vision and the awareness to make plays for others.”

From everything I have seen and heard, Coach Woodson is not overselling this guy. He really is all that.

The question we all have of freshmen is, will he be able to come into Indiana and make an immediate impact?

I say yes, he will. He has the mindset. He has the size. He has the physical tools, and he already has a year under his belt playing against guys on his level.

Also of note, he has a year of playing on a team where he was not necessarily the best player, yet he was able to adapt his game to that and excel. A lot of high school players don’t go through that until they get to college, and you can see the struggle as they adapt to not being ‘the man’ with the ball in his hands all the time, and the whole focus of their team’s offense. Scoop has already been down that road, and I think that is going to be an advantage for him coming into his freshman season.

With all things considered, Indiana fans have every reason to be excited about Scoop Bates and what he adds to the Indiana roster for 2021-22 and beyond. In just over a week, when Indiana takes the court in the Bahamas for the two exhibition game they have planned, we will get a sneak peek at Scoop in action with his Hoosier teammates. It may just be a low-quality video shot from some lucky son of a gun’s iPhone as he is vacationing in the Bahamas, but we will take it. With extreme jealousy, but we will still take it.

And if you are like me, you can’t wait!