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Nation’s top prep player, Ypsilanti’s Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, June 29, 2020, 1:49 pm

Emoni Bates announced his commitment to Michigan State University on Monday.

The rising junior who played his first two seasons at Ypsilanti Lincoln, widely considered not only the top player in the 2022 class, but the best high school player regardless of class, made the announcement on ESPN’s SportsCenter early Monday afternoon. 

“I’m not sure what the future may hold, but as I do know of right now, I will be committed to Michigan State University,” Bates said, before donning a Spartan hat. “I want to say thank you to coach Iz (Tom Izzo)  and coach MG (Mike Garland) for staying with me since I was a youngin’ and just being there through the process, and all the MSU stuff. … They’ve been showing love to me since I was in seventh grade. They’ve been recruiting me since then. I just know they’ve been showing that their love is genuine and they’ve been here for a long time, so … I’m big on loyalty, and they’ve shown me loyalty, so I’ve gotta show them love back.”

During the announcement interview, Bates’ father, Elgin, was asked about the family’s plan to start a prep school, the newly created Ypsi Prep Academy, where Emoni can play for the next two seasons. The younger Bates was wearing a Ypsi Prep Academy shirt during his interview.

“I just think it’s time to be in a situation where he can continue to grow and develop and also be around like-minded individuals who aspire to play on a higher level, that’s committed in the gym, and can also challenge him every day in practice,” Elgin Bates explained. 

Bates’ father was nonplussed when asked about his son’s relatively light (considering his talent) offer list, which included Duke, Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, and the two in-state Big Ten schools, Michigan and MSU

“The one he really wanted to go to was recruiting him heavy, and they’ve been consistent the whole, so as long as he got the offer that he wanted, and was able to participate at the school he actually wants to play for, I’m happy,” Elgin Bates said.  

The 6-foot-9 Bates became the first-ever sophomore to win Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year honors this spring, after he averaged 32.4 points, nine rebounds, three assists per game for the Railsplitters (19-3), who made it to the district finals before the season was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bates led Lincoln to the Division 1 state title as a freshman, and has scored 1,343 points in two years of high school.