Emoni Bates Rumors
For those inside the very circumscribed world of Emoni Bates, Ypsi Prep is not a school as much as it’s a vessel. It exists to transport Emoni from this life to the next — from today’s mundane realities to tomorrow’s NBA stratosphere. In EJ’s mind, it’s both an appropriate pedestal for his prodigious son and a golden ticket for those who’ve chosen to join him. EJ knows onlookers who see the school are suspicious. They assume it’s a sham. They assume it will vanish whenever Emoni leaves. EJ scoffs. “If anything,” he says, “it’s going to evolve and become bigger and stronger.”
Critics wonder if Bates’ game is still improving. They wonder if it’s possible to have a team built around one monument. Those who carp about the school make it sound as if those around Bates aren’t teammates, but are instead in the downline of a multi-level marketing scheme. “They could put LeBron on that team, and Emoni would still be taking 75 percent of the shots,” one Michigan-based high school coach says.
Of all the sources interviewed for this story, those existing in and out of the Bates camp, no one seems to believe Emoni will play at Michigan State. Instead, Bates most likely will wait for a professional contract, probably the most lucrative deal the G League can muster, and turn professional before heading to the NBA. “As of now, everything still stands as it was,” he says, wearing a knowing smile. “Kids are kids, and kids make decisions all the time. Michigan State is still the place that he loves. They embraced him. They showed him love and they continue to show him love. They’ve always been good to him, so I don’t see a switch up or anything. Now, if things change, or some rules change, you know — who knows? Because Michigan State, that’s one dream. The NBA is another dream. I don’t know. At the end of the day, it’s Emoni’s decision on what he wants to do.”
Basketball fans got a treat Thursday evening when the No. 1 junior in the country, Emoni Bates, squared off with the No. 1 senior in the country, Chet Holmgren. Bates is touted as the best high school prospect since LeBron James, but it was the lanky, 7-foot-1 Holmgren who was the star of the game. Holmgren’s Minnesota team, Team Sizzle, defeated Bates’ Ypsi Prep, 78-71, and both players finished with a double-double. Bates had a quiet 36 points (11-for-22 from the field) and 10 rebounds while Holmgren dominated both ends of the court with impressive blocks, long threes and powerful dunks in the lane, finishing with 31 points (13-for-18 from the field), 12 rebounds and six blocks.
The G League route is always a possibility for top prospects but Holmgren is committed to going to college. “Obviously the G League crossed my mind and I thought about it but for the most part I’m focused on going to college,” Holmgren said. NBA scouts watching Thursday night might have tuned in initially for Bates but quickly realized it was Holmgren who was the better prospect on the court. We’ll have to wait two short years to see how his game will translate to the NBA but if this last game is any indication of the type of player Holmgren can be at the next level, he has the potential to be an All-Star.
The marquee matchup of the event will feature Lebron “Bronny” James Jr. versus Emoni Bates. James Jr. and his Sierra Canyon (CA) team will play as the club team the Trailblazers, while Bates will compete with his new Ypsi Prep (MI) squad. Fresh off winning his fourth NBA title with three different teams, LeBron James will likely be in attendance to support his son.