MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Even before playing their first official game with the Tigers, which is Tuesday night against Tennessee Tech, by the way, the accolades keep rolling in for five star freshman Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren.

On Monday, the top two talents of Penny Hardaway’s number one recruiting class named to the top 50 preseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy, which annually goes to the best player in college basketball.

They were also among the candidates for the John R. Wooden Most Outstanding Player Award, placing them among the top men’s basketball student-athletes in the country.

During preseason, Bates earned a spot on the 2022 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award Watch List. Duren made the 2022 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Watch List and was named AAC’s Preseason Rookie of the Year.

Just another preseason honor for both of these young tiger talents and remember, both reclassified to join the tigers, this season and both had to watch the returning Tigers get their NIT Tournament Title rings last week, leaving Duren and Bates feeling a little left out.

“Yeah definitely, definitely, definitely need some hardware.  It’s definitely motivation,” Duren said.  “I’m definitely happy for those guys for what they’ve done but even their response was they want more.  They want the real, they want the NCAA.  They want the big one so we’re all locked in on that.”

Also making the Naismith preseason watch list, Memphian and five star Tennesse Vols guard Kennedy Chandler and Arkansas transfer Chris Lykes.