Five-star small forward Emoni Bates, the No. 1 overall player in the class of 2022, announced a surprise commitment on ESPN’s SportsCenter moments ago.
The 6-foot-8 Bates, regarded by some as the best high school prospect since LeBron James, verbally committed to Michigan State. The Spartans were reportedly the only major program pursuing the Ypsilanti, Michigan native.
The reason for that? Bates may not make it to college in the first place. If the NBA waives its one-and-done rule in time for the 2022 draft, Bates will likely go from prep-to-pro.
Even if the rule stays in place, Bates still could opt to play professionally oversees or in the G League instead of playing in college. In fact, according to Brendan Quinn of The Athletic, Michigan State was not expecting Bates to commit until rumors surfaced earlier today.
Am told Michigan State had no idea Emoni Bates’ commitment was coming until rumors started this morning.
— Brendan Quinn (@BFQuinn) June 29, 2020
Even Bates himself was honest when he announced his commitment, telling ESPN that he’s “not sure what the future may hold.”
EMONI BATES IS A SPARTAN pic.twitter.com/1pGIndL0dT
— Sparty Moments (@SpartyMoments) June 29, 2020
"I'm not sure what the future may hold, but as of right now I'll be committing to Michigan State University." — Emoni Bates.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) June 29, 2020
One thing appears certain, however. Emoni Bates will not reclassify to the class of 2021. His father said as much recently.
“He will be a junior next year,” EJ Bates told The Detroit News. “There’s no rush.”
Last season, Bates averaged 31 points and 10 rebounds a game as a sophomore. In a scouting report published last summer, 247Sports national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels compared him to Kevin Durant and called Bates “arguably the best freshman prospect since LeBron James.”