Emoni Bates scores 36 in Ypsi Prep Academy debut; Michigan target Chet Holmgren dominates

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News

Emoni Bates figures to be on national television many more times in the future against top competition.

He'll hope for better results down the road.

The Michigan State commit and nation's top junior scored 36 points, but his Ypsi Prep Academy team lost 78-71 on Thursday to Team Sizzle from Minneapolis in an exhibition game on ESPN2.

Emoni Bates

The game was held near Bates' hometown at Concordia, but he was upstaged by another top prospect who is considering calling Ann Arbor his college home.

Chet Holmgren, a 7-foot senior considering Michigan, had 31 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots in the entertaining battle.

Ypsi Prep is a school formed by Bates' father, E.J. Bates, who also coaches the team. Emoni Bates previously attended Ypsilanti Lincoln, a public school he lifted to the Division I state championship as a freshman.

His sophomore year at Lincoln ended when the pandemic caused the state tournament to be canceled.

Shortly after that, Bates announced on ESPN his intention to commit to the Spartans, along with the plans to launch Ypsi Prep, a basketball team with players taking online classes.

Several top prospects have joined up with Bates, including fellow MSU commit Jaden Akins, who had 17 points.

But the show was Emoni vs. Chet, and Bates showed up well, dunking for Ypsi Prep's first basket and knocking down four 3-pointers.

During the broadcast, ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi called Bates the best high school prospect since LeBron James. He likened his skillset to Kevin Durant's.

However, the talented 6-foot-9 player missed seven 3-point attempts  — some badly — and didn't get the ball much late as Team Sizzle took control of the game.

Meanwhile, Holmgren was putting on a show for the national TV audience.

The slender Holmgren showed versatility himself, going coast-to-coast for buckets four times after grabbing defensive rebounds.

Holmgren told the ESPN commentators that he's considering attending Gonzaga, Michigan, Minnesota, Memphis, Georgetown, Ohio State or North Carolina and plans to actually attend college.

Of course, that remains to be seen.

Bates and Holmgren could both have the option of skipping college and attending the NBA's new program through the G-League where players spend a year preparing for their NBA careers.

Chet Holmgren

Also at issue for Bates is next season. He could reclassify and play one season for coach Tom Izzo and the Spartans. The Bates crew is being tight-lipped about Emoni's future intentions.

On Thursday, Donovan Smith scored all of his 24 points on eight 3-pointers for Team Sizzle.

Team Sizzle also featured two sons of famed rapper Master P. The rapper, whose real name is Percy Miller, played in two training camps for NBA teams. His sons, Hercy and Mercy, are young college basketball recruits as well.

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.

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