The race for Emoni Bates is nearing a conclusion.
Bates, widely renowned as the nation’s top high school prospect in the class of 2022 is reclassifying into the 2021 class, according to social media national recruiting expert Joe Tipton and Stadium basketball analyst Jeff Goodman.
Along with his announcement, Bates posted a final four to his Instagram page, cutting down a list that once included the reigning National Champion Baylor, Miami, the NBL, and Overtime Elite. The four remaining are Oregon, Memphis, Michigan State and the NBA G-League.
The 6-foot-8 small forward spent the last year playing for his father at his prep school, Ypsi Prep, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. During summer league, Bates played for both Bates Fundamentals and Team Final where he continued to dominate. In nine games with Bates Fundamentals, he averaged 20 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
Bates is a two-time Gatorade player of the year in Michigan and won the 2020 Gatorade National Basketball Player of the Year award.
247Sports recruiting analyst Brandon Jenkins has said "Bates is a dangerous contested shot-maker who arguably is the best scorer in high school basketball," which has garnered NBA comparisons to the likes of Kevin Durant and Paul George.
In the past year, Bates has seen his ranking drop from No. 1 to No. 2 in 247Sports composite rankings for the class of 2022, being surpassed by Montverde’s Jalen Duren.
247Sports’ Travis Branham reported that Bates may be seeking to team up with Duren and pointed out that the two common denominators for the pair are Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers and the NBA G-League.
Tipton has also reported that Duren has said he and Bates have had some 'small talk' about the idea of teaming up, but it hasn't been a strong focus.
Duren is set to announce his decision on Friday.
Though Emoni Bates' recruiting trail may finally be coming to an end a year earlier than expected, it's been quite the winding road. Initially, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Dwayne Stephens earned a commitment from the five-star last June, and Bates was set to be the highest recruited Spartan ever, until he de-committed on April 30.
While committed, with the idea of reclassing in mind, Bates would’ve found himself joining a loaded Spartan recruiting class that included the nation’s No. 1 high school shooting guard Max Christie and Michigan’s top two guards in Jaden Akins and Pierre Brooks, Akins being a former teammate at Ypsi Prep. Canadian-born center Enoch Boakye was also set to don the green and white in 2021, before de-committing from the Spartans a month before Bates.
Regardless of where Bates ends up, his age will hinder his inevitable draft day. Bates does not turn 19 until Jan. 28, 2023, and current NBA draft rules say a player must be 19 during the calendar year of the draft and one year removed from high school. This makes the 2022 NBA draft a non-option.
Should Bates choose a college, that college will be getting a professional, lottery-pick caliber player for two years; enough to make any of the three colleges listed a serious Final Four contender.
Though Bates' fourth option shouldn’t be easily forgotten. It’s been long expected Bates will go pro as soon as possible and with a revamped and constantly incentivized G-League still on the table, college fans can only hope Bates decides to go dancing.
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