Ex-Michigan State commit Emoni Bates headed to University of Memphis

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

The saga that has been the recruitment of Emoni Bates has apparently come to an end.

Rated the No. 5 overall prospect in the nation by 247sports, the 6-foot-8 forward from Ypsilanti announced on Wednesday he has committed to the University of Memphis, choosing the Tigers over his other finalists – Michigan State, Oregon and the G League.

Emoni Bates

Bates made the announcement during a live video on his Instagram account.

Originally a Michigan State commit as part of the 2022 class, Bates backed out of that back in April and reopened his recruitment and soon reclassified to the class of 2021 as the rapidly changing financial landscape of college athletics added a new element to his decision.

With players now able to profit off their name, image and likeness, playing in college suddenly became a real choice again for a player who has already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and could be in position to earn plenty while playing in college.

He comes with plenty of hype after winning a state championship as a freshman at Ypsilanti Lincoln and then being named the youngest Gatorade National Player of the Year winner as a sophomore. He was also one of five finalists for the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award as a junior in 2021.

How long Bates, 17, stays in college is difficult to predict. He does not qualify for the 2022 NBA Draft based on his age, meaning he’ll be playing for two years before he’ll have a shot at entering his name in the draft.

Bates’ commitment comes just weeks after Jalen Duren, the No. 4 overall rated player in the class also committed to Memphis and head coach Penny Hardaway. Duren, a 6-10 post player, is also projected as an NBA lottery pick.


Twitter: @mcharboneau