Big 12 News

Longhorns Signee Tamar Bates Wants Release From LOI

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Texas Longhorns basketball signee Tamar Bates announced on Twitter on Monday that he would request a release from his letter of intent to play for the Longhorns.

Bates’ announcement comes just a few days after Shaka Smart left the Longhorns after six seasons to take over the head-coaching job at Marquette.

Bates was the top-ranked member of a four-player 2021 recruiting class that would have given the Longhorns four Top 200 recruits to build around, as ranked by

Bates, a 6-foot-4 guard, played at IMG Academy at Bradenton, Florida.

Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte is looking for Smart’s replacement, and per reports on Sunday the athletic department has interviewed former Longhorns player Royal Ivey, who is now an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. Among those supportive of the move are former Longhorns forward and current Nets forward Kevin Durant.

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The rest of the recruiting class includes G Emarion Ellis, 6-foot-5, from Assumption High School in Davenport, Iowa; David Joplin, 6-foot-7, from Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, Wisconsin; and Keeyan Itejere, 6-foot-9, from Grace Christian School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bates, Ellis, and Joplin are in the Top 20 nationally at their positions.

Texas has already lost three backup players to the transfer portal — Royce Hamm Jr., Gerald Liddell, and Donovan Williams. Forward Kai Jones has declared for the NBA Draft and intends to hire an agent, ending his time in Austin. The Longhorns are also waiting to hear decisions from seniors like Jericho Sims and Matt Coleman III, who can return for an additional season due to a COVID-19 exception offered by the NCAA. There is also a chance that freshman forward Greg Brown could declare for the NBA Draft.

It’s possible that of them could be waiting to see who gets the job before making a decision. But Bates made his today.

Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard, a former Texas alum, is considered by many to be the front-runner. But here has been no reported reach-out by Texas to Beard. That could be because his buyout drops by $2 million after April 1.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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