Elite 2022 prospect Emoni Bates announced Monday on SportsCenter he has committed to Michigan State:
"They get all my respect," Bates said of the Spartans, via Jeff Borzello of ESPN. "I love how they coach, Coach [Tom] Izzo, I like how they focus on defense more than offense. On and off the court, he has passion. He's just an amazing guy, overall."
He will also finish his high school career at a prep school created by his father, Elgin Bates, per Borzello. It will run as a satellite campus to Aim High Academy in Michigan and all classes have been NCAA certified and approved.
Bates is considered the No. 1 overall basketball recruit in the class of 2022 by 247Sports composite rankings, while Borzello said he is considered "the best high school prospect in more than a decade."
The Michigan native has turned heads throughout his young career, winning the Gatorade National Player of the Year as a sophomore. He gained national attention when he scored 63 points in a game this season:
The 6'8" forward is already an elite scorer who can attack the rim or shoot from distance, giving him nearly unlimited upside.
"He's very young and has a lot of maturing to do physically, but in my 20 years in this business he was as good as anybody I have ever seen as a freshman," Eric Bossi of Rivals said, per Rob Dauster of NBC Sports. "His skill level, athleticism and ability to create a shot are way beyond his years and he plays with a fire and alpha mentality you don't usually see in a 15 year old."
An NBA front office representative told Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated the common comparison to Kevin Durant is "very realistic."
A recent poll of grassroots basketball experts ranked him tied for third as the best high school prospect since LeBron James, tying Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis. Only Kevin Durant and Greg Oden received more votes.
If Bates plays in college, it will be at Michigan State after a lengthy recruiting process.
"Coach [Tom] Izzo and coach [Mike] Garland and that entire MSU staff has been showing love since his seventh grade year. They've been very consistent," Elgin Bates, told ESPN's Borzello and Mark Schlabach.
However, there is still the chance Bates takes a different route after high school.
As Borzello noted, the forward indicated he would go straight to the NBA if the league changed its rules. He also provided some room for doubt in Monday's commitment.
"I don't know what the future will hold, but as of now I will be committing to Michigan State," he told SportsCenter, via Eric Lloyd of MLive.com.
Michigan State could have a superstar on the court when he gets to campus, but it remains to be seen whether he ever makes it to East Lansing.