Emoni Bates, a top five prospect in the class of 2021, announced Wednesday that he intends to play basketball this winter at Memphis under head coach Penny Hardaway over Michigan State, Oregon and the NBA's G-League.
Standing at 6 foot 9 inches and a native of Ypsilanti, Bates’ recruitment process has been a rollercoaster that has caused headaches for Michigan State fans. He initially was a member of the class of 2022 and committed to Tom Izzo and the Spartans last summer. In April, Bates de-committed from MSU and reopened his recruiting.
Earlier this month, Bates announced he was reclassifying to the class of 2021, allowing him to forgo his senior year at Ypsi Prep Academy and be ready to play college basketball as soon as this season. However, Wednesday afternoon was when the dream of having one of the top high school prospects come to East Lansing came to an end when Bates announced his commitment to play at Memphis.
Averaging 24.6 points per game last season, Bates will join fellow five-star recruit and 6 foot 10 inches center Jalen Duren with the Tigers for a dynamic duo that should be in contention for a national championship.
With the final possible piece of the puzzle elsewhere, Michigan State released the roster for the 2021-22 season on Thursday, which includes the incoming freshman and transfers.
Without a glaring star on the roster, the Spartans will need someone else to step up and become ‘the guy’ similar to how Aaron Henry did so, especially down the stretch of last year’s regular season. Having Bates in green and white would have made him an easy candidate to be the team’s leading scorer and perhaps best player, but Izzo will have to look elsewhere for that production.
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