Emoni Bates, widely considered the nation's top high school basketball prospect since LeBron James, has verbally commited to play for Michigan State University.
The nation’s number one high school basketball prospect for the class of 2022, Emoni Bates of Ypsilanti Lincoln, has committed to play for Michigan State. Bates announced his decision on ESPN this afternoon.
Bates thanked Spartans head coach Tom Izzo, noting that Izzo and the program have been recruiting him since he was in seventh grade. Bates just completed his sophomore year, earning the Gatorade National Player of the Year award: the first sophomore ever to do so.
"I’m not sure what the future may hold, but as I do know of right now, I will be committing to Michigan State University," Bates said on ESPN's "SportsCenter." "I want to say thank you to coach Izz (Tom Izzo) and coach OG (Mike Garland) for staying with me since I was a youngin’ and just being there through the process, and all the MSU staff."
Speculation about whether Bates will ever play college basketball or bypass the NCAA to go straight to the NBA — assuming the one-and-done rule is no longer in effect by the time he graduates — has followed him throughout his high school career. The fear of Bates making the leap from high school straight to the NBA is a big reason why many colleges didn’t bother recruiting him.
It’s unclear if Bates plans on reclassifying to the 2021 class, which would make him eligible to enter college a year ahead of schedule.