Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State, leaves door open to skip college
One of the top college basketball recruits in recent memory has announced his college choice — with a pretty big caveat.
Emoni Bates, the consensus No. 1 recruit in the 2022 class, announced Monday on ESPN that he has committed to Michigan State. However, Bates is so highly regarded that many doubt he’ll even attend college — something Bates himself alluded to in making his announcement.
"I'm not sure what the future may hold, but as of right now I'll be committing to Michigan State University." — Emoni Bates.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) June 29, 2020
Emoni Bates: "They've been showing love to me since I was in 7th grade." Adds "I'm big on loyalty, so I gotta show them love back." https://t.co/CySCroqusd
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) June 29, 2020
Bates has been described by some as the most talented basketball prospect since LeBron James. That’s partially why there is still so much uncertainty here. The 16-year-old Ann Arbor native has options, and could even reclassify for the 2021 class and play for the Spartans a year earlier than anticipated.
On the other hand, that could all go out the window if the NBA repeals its rule requiring all draftees to be 19 years old. If the one-and-done rule goes out the window, Bates could skip college and enter the draft and potentially be the No. 1 pick in 2022. This had been viewed as such a significant possibility that few top programs even bothered to recruit him. The Spartans were the exception, as Tom Izzo had been recruiting Bates since the forward was in 7th grade. There had been widespread speculation that rule could be repealed by the time Bates graduates high school, but that may not be quite as certain anymore.
If Bates does attend college, he’ll be a must-watch player and one of Michigan State’s best recruits ever. Spartan fans will be desperately hoping he goes that route.