Before his junior year in high school, Emoni Bates has already appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, been named Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year and drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant. He’s unanimously regarded as the top player in high school and CBS’ Gary Parrish says Bates’ “can’t miss” status reminds him of another hoops phenom.
“I remember back in the early 2000s when I’d talk to college coaches about LeBron James, and he was the one prospect that everybody agreed on. Nobody thought he was overhyped. Nobody thought he was a possible bust. Everybody genuinely believed he was an incredible talent destined to do great things. I hear and have witnessed similar things with Emoni Bates,” Parrish said.
In June, Bates committed to Michigan State. But that is still two seasons away. In the interim, Bates has decided to switch schools and will attend, Ypsi Prep Academy in Ypsilanti, Michigan after spending his first two years at Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti. Bates’ father, Elgin, opened the school and will coach the team.
The first year of school will not lack for exposure. Their national schedule against the country’s best begins on November 28th against Duncanville (TX) at the Thanksgiving Hoopfest at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Bates is 6’8, but possesses guard skills that have drawn such strong parallels to Durant. He averaged 32 points and nine rebounds per game during his sophomore season and connected on 37% of his three-pointers. He can shoot off the dribble, attack the rim and handle the ball.
Ypsi Prep’s line-up also features Bates’ future Michigan State teammate, Jaden Akins. Akins, a senior, is an explosive scorer from the point guard position with a good outside shot. Also in Ypsi’s line-up are four-star juniors, JaVaugh Hannah, Dillon Hunter and Shawn Phillips. Phillips, 6’10, is one of the nation’s top-rated centers. Hunter is the third-best point guard of the 2022, according to ESPN.
In Duncanville, Ypsi will meet the Texas 6A state champions from 2019. They are led by Ronald Holland, a 6’6 five-star forward. Holland is ranked eighth among the sophomore class, per the 247 Sports rankings. Alongside Holland, is a trio of Division I bound players. Point guard Zhuric Phelps is a three-star recruit who is committed to SMU. Damon Nichoals Jr. is headed to Sam Houston State and Juan Reyna will attend Alabama State.
In the first game of the evening, St. Marks (TX) will play John Paul II (TX). St. Marks is ranked 32nd according to CBS Sports.