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Emoni Bates Stock Is Slipping After the 2021 Nike EYBL

Emoni Bates
(Junfu Han/USA TODAY Sports)

Emoni Bates Hype Is Starting to Die Down

Once upon a time, Emoni Bates was being called the best basketball prospect we had seen since LeBron James. That is certainly a lofty assessment, one that would be difficult to live up to for anyone. Of course, this is probably an opportunity for talent evaluators to honestly look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they resorted to needless embellishment about a 15-year-old kid. Nevertheless, we have had a few more years to look at Bates, and the general perception is starting to cool. 247Sports recently moved him down a spot on their 2022 Recruiting Rankings in favor of Jalen Duren.

Emoni Bates Is Not the Best We’ve Seen Since LeBron James

The end of the 2021 Nike EYBL season is one of the biggest annual events in high school basketball. College coaches and NBA scouts attend the games because it gives them the opportunity to scout a ton of prospects all at once. Matt Norlander of CBS wrote the following after attending the Nike EYBL event:

As I sat with coaches and NBA evaluators and watched Bates play over the course of three days, everyone agreed: he is not what he was advertised as the past two-plus years. He’s not a once-in-a-decade talent, and certainly not the best prospect since LeBron James. As of today he’s not the sure-fire No. 1 pick in whatever NBA Draft he’s in. He could well become the top pick, but it’s not etched into the stone tablets. 

Matt Norlander, CBS Sports

The general consensus on Emoni Bates has certainly come down from where it was two years ago. But that’s to be expected given that everyone was talking about him like he was going be the greatest player to ever touch a basketball. He’s still phenomenally talented, and he will almost certainly make it to the NBA in the next few years, but evaluations are a little more grounded in reality now.

What’s Next for Emoni Bates?

Emoni Bates, who hails from Michigan, had previously committed to play at Michigan State for Tom Izzo. Not many high major programs had actually given him a formal offer because they all expected him to take the pro route. Even after the commitment, most commenters theorized that Bates would never step foot on a college court. Bates decommitted from MSU a couple months ago – the general belief is still that he will pursue a pro opportunity, be it the G League Ignite team or otherwise.

There are a lot of paths Bates could go from here. He could reclassify to graduate a year earlier, go to college, or turn pro. All routes lead to the soonest NBA Draft possible. Emoni Bates may not be the greatest player of all time, but he is still expected to be a very promising talent. Remember his name for the future.


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