Emoni Bates, high school basketball’s top recruit, commits to Michigan State

Emoni Bates, the nation’s top high school basketball recruit regardless of class, won’t be traveling too far to play his college basketball.

The 6’8″ rising junior from Ypsilanti, Michigan, announced Monday that he will take his immense talents to Michigan State to play under legendary coach Tom Izzo.

Bates’ commitment shocked the world of basketball, considering no one saw a college decision coming anytime soon from Bates, if at all.

Apparently, it shocked the Michigan State coaching staff as well.

Bates, 16, cited his long-time relationship with Izzo and his staff as the key reason why he committed to being a Spartan with two years of high school basketball left to play.

“They’ve been showing love to me since I was in 7th grade. They’ve been recruiting me hard since then. I just know they are showing that their love is genuine. And they have been here for a long time.”

When looking at Bates’ resume, the hype is well-deserved.

He is coming off of a sophomore campaign in which he averaged 33.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals. And as a freshman, he led Lincoln High School to a state championship while averaging 28.7 points and 10.2 rebounds.

He was named Michigan’s Gatorade State Player of the Year as a freshman and he took it to another level as a sophomore, winning the Gatorade National Player of the Year, becoming the first sophomore to win the prestigious award.

Bates’ dominant play has led many to label him the best high school basketball prospect since LeBron James, who dominated during his four years at St. Vincent St. Mary’s in Akron, Ohio.

James won three state championships in high school, capped off by a national championship during his senior season.

While Bates is committed to Michigan State as of today, he acknowledges that the changing landscape of basketball could alter his plans in the future.

After Jalen Green, the top player in the class of 2020, announced that he would join the NBA G-League in April, highly-touted recruits Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix followed suit, and many believed Bates would take a similar path.

However, Bates has so far made it clear that if his options are between college basketball and the G-League, he is going the college route.

With talks of the NBA potentially modifying its draft eligibility rules so that high school graduates can enter the league immediately, and the new G-League route being proposed to players, there are those who still don’t believe Bates will make it to East Lansing.

And of course, with Bates’ surprise commitment, there was sure to be a wide range of reaction within the basketball community.

While the doubt might outweigh the optimism, our Mark Titus is choosing to take a glass-half-full approach to Bates’ commitment, which he acknowledges is a huge win for the Big Ten as a whole.

“I’m not gonna be a cynic. I’m not gonna take the pessimistic approach. I’m gonna take the optimistic approach and say the fact that this commitment kinda means nothing, means something. Because he did not have to do this. He did not need to get in front of national television cameras and announce that he wants to go to Michigan State. That’s pretty cool. That’s great for college basketball.”

Bates still has two years left to make his final, final decision.

We’ll check back when Emoni turns 18.