Emoni Bates may be the biggest high school basketball recruit since LeBron James. The 6-foot-9 Ypsilanti, Mich. native is already penciled in as the top pick whenever he’s able to make the jump to the NBA.
Many recruits would try and fast track that process. That involves transferring to more basketball-centric high school/prep school, and reclassifying up a grade in order to get to college and the NBA a year early. Bates doesn’t seem to be in a major rush.
The Lincoln High School star is content staying with his current situation. He also doesn’t plan to move up to the 2021 class, either. His father said as much in a recent interview with The Detroit News.
“He will be a junior next year,” his father EJ Bates, a former professional player in Europe, said. He seems pretty set on Bates staying in the 2022 class, and staying at Lincoln. “There’s no rush,” he added.
— Detroit News Sports (@detnews_sports) June 25, 2020
Another factor: the potential for the NBA to waive its one-and-done rule in time for Bates to make the jump right out of high school. He’s started visiting programs, and has said that Michigan State has “always been his dream school,” but there’s a real chance that he’ll be able to head right to the pros. His high school coach has already acknowledged the possibility.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in May of 2019 that the one-and-done rule of having players play a year of college ball before entering the NBA Draft was no longer good policy and more than likely giving high school players graduating in 2022 the opportunity to declare for the NBA Draft.
“Emoni still has a great upside; of course he’s a good shooter, a good rebounder and has a great awareness for the game, but he could be so much better,” Lincoln coach Jesse Davis said. “I think developing him more into an all-around player will be my goal, just keeping him focused on doing the right things on and off the court.
“I think he has to be really mentored to doing the right things because if he does make that leap (in 2022 to the NBA) he’s going to be forced to grow up really fast. He’s going to be on the road with NBA players and he’s going to be 19 years old, so he’s going to have to be able to carry himself in the right manner. He’s not going to be a grownup. He’ll be an adult legally, the status and money will say he’s grown up, but really it takes some time to grow up.
Entering his sophomore year of high school, Emoni Bates was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This past season, he averaged 31 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Magic, Michael, LeBron… Emoni?
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 29, 2019
Whether it is with a year in college or an upcoming jump to the NBA, we’ll be getting very familiar with the name Emoni Bates over the next few years.