Every year, many high school basketball players are raved about and hyped as the next big thing. Every year, some of them turn out to be pretty good while others are a huge disappointment.
It is not every year, however, that a talent like Emoni Bates comes along.
It is not often that sports media features articles about high school freshmen basketball players. But if you Google Bates’ name, you will have enough reading material to last you for days. He is drawing comparisons to some pretty big names, and he continues to back it up.
As a 6-8 15 year old freshman, Bates led his team to a state title in Michigan averaging 30 points and 11 rebounds per game. He went into the Nike EYBL season with high expectations, and he has met every single one of them.
Bates often draws comparisons to Kevin Durant, as he has a similar build, can score from anywhere on the court, and is virtually impossible to guard in his mid-range game. While he could certainly use a few more pounds of muscle, Bates is possibly the most highly-touted high school basketball player in the world. And maybe the most hyped since LeBron James. (I know Zion Williamson was a rock star, but this is more about basketball ability than raw athleticism.)
Unfortunately, we may never see Bates on a college basketball court. For the last few years, 2022 has been the target date for the NBA to change their eligibility rules to allow high school players to go right into the NBA. That happens to coincide with Bates’ theoretical freshman year of college.
Unless something very unfortunate happens, Bates would be a log to go straight into the pros out of high school should he be eligible to do so. But keeping in mind the possibility that the rule may not change, of course Bates has thought about playing in college.
According to 247 Sports, Bates has expressed interest in staying home and playing at Michigan State, but he would also consider suiting up for the Kentucky Wildcats. Of course everything could change in the next two years, but for now that is the entirety of his list.
Even though it’s a long shot that Bates will ever sign a letter of intent, Big Blue Nation has to be encouraged that Kentucky is already in the conversation.