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Emoni Bates, JaVaughn Hannah set for Ypsi Prep Academy debut on national TV

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Ypsi Prep Academy will make its debut Thursday night on national television when it plays host to Team Sizzle from Minneapolis at Concordia University in Ann Arbor.

Of course, Ypsi Prep Academy is a new school formed by E.J. Bates, father of 6-foot-9 junior Emoni Bates, who is considered to be the nation’s top high school basketball player. E.J. is the team’s head coach.

JaVaughn Hannah

Bates led Ypsilanti Lincoln to the Division 1 state championship his freshman year in 2019, then was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated last fall. He committed to Michigan State this summer, as did his Ypsi Prep Academy teammate Jaden Akins, who transferred from Farmington High.

It should be a must-see game with Bates and Ypsi Prep taking on a Team Sizzle team that showcases 7-foot phenom Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 prospect for the 2021 class who has Michigan high on his list.

More: Michigan State's perseverance pays off with commitment of Emoni Bates

Ypsi Prep Academy 6-5, 200-pound junior guard/forward JaVaughn Hannah is excited to make his debut. He averaged 31.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season at Mount Clemens.

“Things are going really good and we’re looking forward to Thursday’s game with Team Sizzle,” said Hannah of the season opener, which gets underway at 8:30 on ESPN2.

“This will be a big opportunity for us to show the work that we’ve been putting in and what we can do on the floor. Everybody is looking really good together, getting comfortable with their roles.

“I’ve had a chance to play in front of big-time people playing in Las Vegas for national (AAU) championships and also playing in Peach Jam, so this is another opportunity for me to show what I can do.”

Hannah said the team is living together in a house in Ypsilanti, taking classes online. He has offers from Marquette, Arizona State, Iowa, DePaul and several other colleges.

Emoni Bates

Thursday’s game is a part of the 2020 GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase tripleheader on ESPN2 and follows the Lake Norman Christian (N.C.) at Oak Hill Academy (Va.) game at 7 and is played before the 10 p.m. game in Phoenix between Air Nado (Nevada) and Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) which has Bronny James, son of LeBron James, on its team.

Ypsi Prep Academy will be playing James and Sierra Canyon in the Battle Basketball Showcase Nov. 20-21 at the Allen Event Center just outside of Dallas.

In addition to Bates, Akins and Hannah, other Ypsi Prep Academy players include guard Orlando Lovejoy (Romulus Summit Academy) and John McCrear.