Bateman Stands to Gain Much After Hiatus

The disappointment that Kemonte Bateman felt when he didn't academically qualify in the summer was enormous. The lessons he learned and the growth he experienced as a result of that unpleasant event, were just as significant. The talented wide receiver talked to Devils Digest about his road to qualifying and his expectations playing for the Sun Devils in 2009.

He didn't fax a Letter of Intent on Wednesday because he has done so already in February. Yet Kemonte Bateman couldn't help feel like he was part of the four players who made their pledge official to Arizona State on that day. Just like that quartet he will begin his maroon and gold career next month.

When he failed to meet ASU and NCAA academic requirements, the 6-1 176 Los Angeles Crenshaw wide receiver knew that he had to go through a ‘greyshirt' process. In other words, he couldn't play football for a junior college, but rather take classes there as well as prepare for the ACT exam in hopes of enrolling in the spring.

After achieving a score of 22, when he needed just 20, Bateman will be on campus in January ready to begin his studies at ASU and participate in spring practice.

Life without football, actually helped Bateman cope with the situation in the first few weeks of the 2008 season.

"I had to force myself to not think about ASU, football or none of that," said Bateman. "I was just concentrating on my studies and working out with my trainer. Every time I thought about football it threw me off my studies."

Nonetheless, on Saturdays when he took a break from studying and working out, he took in as many Sun Devil games as he could. He said that watching his future team go 5-7 was just as hard on him being a fan, as it would be if he was part of the team.

"Me, my father and my brother would watch the games," recalled Bateman, "just yelling at the T.V. ‘what is Rudy Carpenter doing?...what's going on with the passing game?' I was real frustrated watching them.

"But then you remember that they were playing so many freshmen, and they're very young. So you know they're gonna be better. I can't stress over this one bad season. Everybody has a bad season and I just put it behind me. Next year we're gonna start over and have a better year."

Not only was Bateman watching ASU's games with great interest since he was committed to them, but also because his best friend and former Crenshaw teammate Clint Floyd didn't redshirt and played well at safety.

"I was happier than him," said Bateman laughing. "I was so proud of him because he's exactly where he wanted to be – playing on the field. I was talking to players on the team and they were telling me what a hard worker he was, and how he came in and right away and was taking care of his business."

Bateman knows that once he arrives in Tempe, the natural comparisons to Floyd will take place and acknowledged the pressure that he may feel following in the safety's footsteps.

"People are gonna say ‘ok, what can we expect from Kemonte when he comes out here in January'…so now I know that I have to work out twice as hard so I can do the same thing my freshman year," said Bateman.

The wide receiver knows that the rust from not playing competitive football all season is something that he will have to initially deal with. However, that fact doesn't affect his confidence in his abilities and his chances of making an early impact with the Sun Devils.

"I'm not gonna redshirt and (ASU WR's) Coach Yarber doesn't want me to redshirt," stated Bateman, "I'm going to come in and work hard and do what I have to do play early. Whatever it takes. Spring practice will tell me where I'm at."

As senior Bateman, rated as the No. 35 wide receiver in the country by, collected 66 receptions for 1,104 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the last several months he said that he was working on his footwork, running routes, and hitting the weights. "I would be in the weight room for three hours a couple times a week," noted Bateman. "I up to 176 lbs. now."

Bateman obviously wished he could have played for ASU this year. On the same token, when forced to be sidelined and improve his academics he realized the positives that can come out of this adverse situation.

"This experience has made me better as a player and better as a person," explained Bateman. "I don't know if I would have done well in college if I came in the fall. This experience told me that I can't study like I did in high school.

"Now that I'm going to college I'm gonna take advantage of everything that's thrown at me."

And a sure-handed Bateman stands to excel on and off the field.

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