Ypsilanti Lincoln basketball star Emoni Bates, the top-ranked player in the country for the class of 2022, announced Monday he will play college basketball at Michigan State.
“I’m not sure what my future my holds,” Bates said on ESPN, “but I do know as of right know I will be committed to Michigan State University. They’ve been showing love to me since I was in the seventh grade. They’ve been recruiting me hard since then, so I just know that they’re showing that they love me genuine and they have just been here for a long time. I’m big on loyalty, and they’ve showed me all loyalty, so I have to show them love back.”
As a sophomore, Bates helped Lincoln to a 19-3 record this past winter while putting his team in position for a state title run. Lincoln advanced to the district championship game and a rematch against Ann Arbor Huron, a team it lost to during the regular season, when the COVID-19 pandemic put things to a halt.
He also became the first sophomore and youngest player at age 16 to win the Gatorade High School Boys Basketball National Player of the Year. Bates averaged 31 points and 10 rebounds this past season, scoring 40 or more points five times.
Bates, a 6-foot-9 guard, helped Lincoln win the Division 1 state championship his freshman year, earning a spot on The Detroit News Dream Team in the process. He averaged 28.5 points and 10.2 rebounds as a freshman, joining four senior starters from an 11-10 team to not only help Lincoln win its first conference championship in 15 years, but first state title in program history.
Last week, Bates’ father, E.J., told The Detroit News last week Bates had no plans to transfer to Lincoln, or to reclassify.
ESPN reported, however, that E.J. will open a prep school run as a satellite campus to Aim High Academy in Michigan, and that Emoni will play for that team, not Ypsilanti Lincoln. The new prep school will be called Ypsi Prep Academy.
ESPN said Bates’ team will play a national schedule, and Bates’ teammates will be some of his Bates Fundamentals AAU teammates.
E.J. Bates discussed Monday his son’s recruitment, and was asked why he felt more schools didn’t offer Emoni during the recruiting process.
“I was upset at first,” E.J. Bates said, “but the one that he really wanted to go to was recruiting him heavy and they’ve been consistent the whole way, so as long as he got the offer that he wanted and wanted to participate at the school he actually wants to play for I’m happy.”
This is a developing story. Check back at detroitnews.com for more updates.