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JaVaughn Hannah set to get the ball rolling with Emoni Bates at Ypsi Prep Academy

David Goricki
The Detroit News

JaVaughn Hannah is set to travel to Ypsilanti Saturday for orientation at Ypsi Prep Academy, looking forward to finding out where he will live and how his daily life will be in the first year of the new prep school.

Ypsi Prep Academy was founded by E.J. Bates, father of the nation’s top player, Emoni Bates, who is entering his junior year and is already committed to Michigan State.

JaVaughn Hannah

Hannah will join Bates and Orlando Lovejoy – all three teammates in past years with the Bates Fundamentals AAU team – at Ypsi Prep Acamdey, along with Jaden Akins, an MSU commit who played last year at Farmington.

Hannah played last year at Mount Clemens, Lovejoy at Romulus Summit Academy and Bates at Ypsilanti Lincoln, where he helped Lincoln win the Division 1 state championship in 2019.

Hannah said the Bates Fundamentals AAU team shut down this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, didn’t hold practices or compete in tournaments. He joined a Chicago team, the Illinois Stars, playing in a tournament in Fort Wayne earlier this month.

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And now Hannah is set to begin his junior year at Ypsi Prep Academy.

“I’m not sure of the start date, maybe some time next week or the week after; it’s coming real soon,” Hannah said. “We’re supposed to have orientation on Saturday and go from there. We’re going face-to-face in Ypsilanti on Saturday. We have our own location to meet at; it’s safe and secure and under the (state) guidelines.

“I don’t know the exact location, but we’ll meet there and have our classes and the schedule for our games. I think we’re starting online (classes) but then in October we’ll probably start going to school with each other. We’re all moving in together. I don’t know if it’s a dorm or a house yet. We’ll find that out during orientation.

“We’ll start practicing as soon as we start school, which will be really fun. Basketball will be a big part of the day, so basically we will have the chance to go in the gym in the morning, right after school and then at night.”

Hannah, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound combo guard, averaged 31.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season to earn a spot on The Detroit News All-East first team. He has more than a dozen offers, including Arizona State, Marquette, Texas A&M, Mississippi and DePaul.

Hannah has been working out a lot to prepare for his junior year.

“I’ve been running, riding my bike, and my old coach at Mount Clemens has a little workout gym in his house, so I’ve been doing that with him and getting jump shots off outside, just trying to stay busy.”

New-look Lincoln

It’s certainly not unheard of for a student-athlete to transfer. But three times for one high school player is unusual.

Simon Wheeler was at Detroit East English his freshman year, then moved to on to follow his head basketball coach, Juan Rickman, to Ferndale for his sophomore year. He then moved on to Ypsilanti Lincoln, where he played with Bates this past winter.

Now, Wheeler is headed west to join Bella Vista College Prep in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Lincoln coach Jesse Davis will be coaching a far different team than a year ago with Bates and 6-7 Lincoln teammate John McCrear playing at Ypsi Prep Academy, and Wheeler, a point guard, moving on to Arizona.

But Davis still has a solid nucleus to work with at Lincoln with 6-8 junior Decorian Temple returning, along with talented guards in 6-2 sophomore Braelon Green and Keon Henderson.