1. #1
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    Hi School Basketball Phenom Emoni Bates 🏀

    Will high school basketball phenom Emoni Bates really play at Michigan State? If so, when?


    We now know the near-term plans of the nation's best high school basketball player.

    Emoni Bates, considered one of the best high school prospects since LeBron James, announced Monday that he will attend a new prep school launched by his father, Elgin, before playing at Michigan State. "I'm not sure what the future may hold, but as of right now I'll be committing to Michigan State University," Bates said on SportsCenter.

    There are a lot of moving parts. Bates has always been viewed as a preps-to-pros candidate, unlikely to ever play a minute of college basketball. Has that changed? Will he graduate high school in 2022, as currently scheduled, or will he move up the timeline? And why is this such a big deal?

    Let's answer those questions and more.

    Is Bates ever actually going to play at Michigan State?

    This is the question most asked by people when talking about Emoni Bates, even from people inside the basketball industry. A year ago, the answer would have likely been no. At the time, it looked like the one-and-done rule was going to change in time for the 2022 NBA draft, allowing Bates to skip college and head straight to the NBA. Bates told ESPN earlier this spring that "it's a go for me" if he was able to go to the NBA out of high school. But that's all been put on hold, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said in April that talks about ending the rule might not pick up for a few years.

    So that likely eliminates the preferred option for Bates.

    But what about the G League? Can't Bates spend a year there?

    The new G League pathway has made that route a lot more attractive to elite prospects in the past few months, as No. 1 2020 prospect Jalen Green and five-star prospects Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix all opted to play there for a year instead of in college. The G League is offering up to $500,000 to top prospects. So it's certainly going to be an option for Bates when the time comes.

    But he doesn't seem to be looking too closely at it at the moment.

    "It's good for certain players. That's a lot of money," Bates said. "I don't really plan on, I don't think I'll do it. It's good for some people, but I don't think I'll head that route."

    He added that he would rather play college basketball than go to the G League.

    When would all this happen? When would Bates arrive in East Lansing?

    That's another question without a definitive answer. Bates is currently a member of the 2022 class and he turned 16 in late January. But he's on track to graduate after the upcoming school year, at the end of his junior year, meaning there's the possibility he could reclassify into the 2021 class and enroll at Michigan State a year early. Usually, reclassifying also opens up alternative routes to the NBA draft -- but that won't apply to Bates. A player has to be at least 19 years old and a year removed from his graduating class in order to enter the draft; even if Bates reclassifies and does a post-graduate year, he will be only 18 and five months for the 2022 NBA draft. The NBA did propose a lowering of the draft age to 18, but that hasn't passed yet.

    So Bates, assuming he maintains his lack of interest in the G League and doesn't go overseas for a year, would head to Michigan State in either 2021 or 2022. Tom Izzo would have a loaded team in 2021-22, with 11 players on next season's roster still expected to be on campus in two seasons. If Bates doesn't get there until 2022-23, there are only five players on next season's roster who will have eligibility that season.

    Why did Bates choose Michigan State?

    It sounds weird, but the Spartans were the only school to really recruit Bates. As mentioned, there was a strong expectation that Bates was going to end up going straight to the NBA -- and that scared off a lot of schools. Not Michigan State, though. Izzo and his staff recruited Bates since seventh grade and maintained consistent contact, showing up at his games and making him a priority. On June 15, the first day college coaches could call 2022 prospects directly, Michigan State was the only school to reach out to Bates.

    "Who said the rule changed? It hasn't changed yet," Elgin Bates said. "If I'm in their shoes, I gotta bet on myself. I gotta be able to at least throw that pitch out there and try. It's like asking a girl on a date. If you don't ask her, you never know what the answer will be. It's unfortunate."

    It was more than that, of course. Bates and his family really connected with Izzo, and Michigan State's pitch was appealing to them.

    "They get all my respect, really," Emoni Bates said. "I love how they coach, Coach Izzo, I like how they focus on defense more than offense. That's a big key in basketball and people don't understand that. On and off the court, he has passion. He's just an amazing guy, overall."

    And what's the deal with his new high school?

    Bates spent the first two years of high school at Lincoln High in Ypsilanti, Michigan, but there was always an expectation he would end up transferring to a powerhouse program like Montverde Academy (Florida) or Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) at some point in high school. Instead, Bates will stay close to home -- at a school his father is launching this fall.

    Elgin Bates is opening up a prep school run as a satellite campus to Aim High Academy in Michigan, and he's recruiting some of Emoni's AAU teammates and other top 2022 talent around the country. Elgin told ESPN that all the classes are NCAA certified and approved.

    They plan on playing a national schedule against some of those same high school teams Bates could have transferred to, and they're already expecting 2022 prospects Javaughn Hannah, Shawn Phillips and Dillon Hunter to join the fold.

    How good is Bates? Is his game worthy of all the hype?

    Put simply, yes. In April, Bates was the first sophomore ever to win the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year award. He's No. 1 in the ESPN 60 for 2022. He's the No. 1 prospect regardless of class. He's the favorite to be picked No. 1 in whichever NBA draft he ultimately enters.

    When ESPN polled more than a dozen grassroots basketball experts last summer on the best high school prospect since LeBron James, Bates finished in a tie for third, behind Kevin Durant and Greg Oden. Durant and Oden were both in the class of 2006, meaning Bates was considered the best high school prospect in more than 15 years.

    "He has a chance to be ahead of LeBron. I've never seen a better freshman," a longtime scout said at the time. "He's a prospect that's dominant as a ninth-grader. That's rare. Normally prospects are guys with high upside or potential that you haven't fulfilled. His potential is high, but he's doing it now."

    What's the best comparison for Bates?

    Standing at 6-foot-9 with a smooth offensive game and elite shooting ability from the perimeter, the obvious comp is Kevin Durant. At last summer's Nike Peach Jam, Bates made 3.5 3s per game at a 42.4% clip, while averaging 32.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He was playing with his age group, at the U-15 level, but his level of dominance among his peers was apparent. And that carried over to the high school level, where he led Lincoln High (Ypsilanti, Michigan) to its first state championship as a freshman after averaging 32.4 points.

    Bates' father has his own thoughts on those comparisons, though.

    "Emoni Bates is Emoni Bates," Elgin said. "If he continues to work hard, then hopefully there won't be any comparisons. It will be just him."

  2. #2
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    jjgold's Avatar Horses Moderator
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    a lot of guys that are hyped up do not pan out

  3. #3
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    Very true JJ

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    RudyRuetigger's Avatar SBR PRO
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    He's playing for his father's newly launched prep school?

    What am I missing here

    Dumb move to go to college in this climate
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  5. #5
    clockwise1965's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    One and done. He needs to put on some weight.

  6. #6
    Chi_archie's Avatar SBR PRO
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    He still has two more years of High school ball

    a lot of change can occur in a 16-18 year old's brain in two years and a lot can change with the college ball terrain, the G league, international offers, his dad and entourage.

    Kid doesn't realistically know what he'll want to do 1 month from now let alone fall of 2022

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    marcoloco's Avatar SBR PRO
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    6'9 205 at 16 years old....

  8. #8
    marcoloco's Avatar SBR PRO
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockwise1965 View Post
    One and done. He needs to put on some weight.
    I use to think this also but not in today's NBA. Durrant, Curry, Morant, Trey Young, etc. You don't need muscle anymore to make it the NBA. Everything is a foul

  9. #9
    Not interested....
    Itsamazing777's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    He could be the next Durant. Seen him play in ypsi

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcoloco View Post
    6'9 205 at 16 years old....

    That dude looks like God compared to Lebron James' son