Emoni Bates is a 6 foot 9 sophomore who plays for Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan. While being ranked the number 1 High School player for the class of 2022, Bates is an exceptional wing player who can handle the basketball and create opportunities for both himself and his teammates. According to multiple reports on the 15 year old protege, Bates is known as “the future of basketball” and can take the game to a different level the more he evolves as a player.
Bates during his freshmen season averaged 28.5 points along with 10 rebounds for The Railsplitters. Despite his small frame as far as weight, he uses his height to advantage as he has the ability to score over smaller defenders and can tower over his competition when crashing the boards. Bates was named the 2018-2019 Michigan boys basketball player of the year and lead his school to a Division I State Championship as well.
Bates’ time playing AAU this past summer for the Bates Fundamentals was also spectacular. At one point in the season, he averaged 32 points and 15 rebounds as he was able to carry the momentum from his freshmen season into the summer. Some of his notable games from the tournaments were scoring 43 points against a Bronny James (LeBron’s son) lead squad alongside scoring 37 points against Migos member Quavo’s team, YRN (Yung Rich Nation). When the competition was at an all time high, Bates was able to rise to the occasion and remind everyone why he’s the best player in his class.
Bates being only 15 years of age means that he has a lot of time to develop and mature as a player and a leader on and off the court. With the help of his father’s support, Bates puts forth the extra effort to be the best version of himself that he can be. “My dad told me if you want to play this game, you got to treat it like it’s a job.” Bates explained in his interview with SLAM Magazine. It’s always humbling to have elders who push you to become the best of your ability, and that is the responsibility that Bates dad has for his son.
NBA Scouts have been watching Bates’ development for some time now. After many camps and AAU tournaments under his belt, many insiders say that Bates is destined to be a phenomenal amount of talent once he reaches the NBA. Although he has much to improve with his game, it is amazing to see a kid so dominant at his young age.
Many will compare Bates to numerous players in the NBA today, but the one player he is easily comparable to is two time NBA Champion Kevin Durant. Both Bates and Durant are wing players who love to get to their sweet spot and shoot over defenders. They also both have a high basketball IQ and know how to make the right play at the right time.
Bates also seems to have the same body figure that Durant had when he was in High School/College. Durant grew to be 6’9 by the time he was in high school with a wingspan of 7’4. Bates is also listed at 6’9 currently and has a wingspan of 6’9. We see how when Kobe Bryant came into the league and he was another version of Michael Jordan. Well, Bates just might have the ability to become the next KD when he gets drafted in the near future.
Bates has many strengths to his game being the number 1 player in the nation for his class, but he also has many accolades that he can improve on as his journey goes on. One place that he can improve on is becoming a much better perimeter defender. We know that Bates is very lengthy and is getting much stronger as a player, but once he transitions to College and to the pros, he’ll have to learn the best way to stay in front of his defender and force them into a bad play. With his work ethic and will to be great. Bates will no question improve on his defense and be a bigger threat on that side of the floor.
As Bates heads into his sophomore season with the Railsplitters, the competition will only get tougher as teams will look to take down the state champs this season. As a competitor, Bates will be ready for the challenges and will have an answer for whoever will be in his way. Look for Bates to have another phenomenal season which will hopefully end with him taking his team to another title in his 2nd High School season.