Illinois Basketball: Former Texas commit Tamar Bates a new target for Illini

Illinois basketball has been doing some serious work in the recruiting game since departing the NCAA tournament.

The Illini have been rumored in the hunt for some big-time recruits the past couple of weeks, and a new name on the board for the Orange and Blue is Tamar Bates.

Bates is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound shooting guard from IMG Academy and resides in Bradenton, Florida. He is rated as a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 56 player in the class of 2021. He is also the No. 14 shooting guard in the nation and the No. 10 player coming out of Florida.

Back in August 2020, Bates committed to Texas and then later signed with Shaka Smart in November. But Smart bolted for Marquette after the 2020-21 campaign concluded, leaving Bates to reopen his recruitment this past Monday. Now Bates is looking for a new home, and Illinois is one of the teams eyeing the talented shooter.

According to Tipton Edits, since Bates reopened his recruitment on Monday, he has heard from Kentucky, Missouri, Washington, Gonzaga and Illinois. This is big news considering the Illini have some spots to fill on their roster.

Where would Bates fit in on the Illinois basketball team?

Let me start by saying that I love Bates’ game. This kid has a ton of talent and is ready to take the show to the next level. Bates has a great ability to shoot from distance, but he can sneak by you and get to the rim. His slashing abilities are probably an underrated part of his game. He reminds me a lot of a Jamal Crawford type of player.

Bates would enter the Illinois basketball program and start from day one. There is no question he would get the starting nod next to some great Illini talent.

I would slot Andre Curbelo at the No. 1 spot. Bates would then be at the No. 2 spot. Adam Miller would take the No. 3 spot. Jacob Grandison would be at the No. 4. And either Kofi Cockburn or Giorgi Bezhanishvili would be at the No. 5.

The lineup described above can do some damage in the college basketball world. I have no doubt, if this is the lineup we enter with next season, the Illini would be a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament and a threat to win it all.