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Emoni Bates, once heralded as the best high school basketball prospect since Kevin Durant, is in one of the weirdest, and most interesting stories we have ever seen in the history of college basketball recruiting as it is now announced that he’s heading to Eastern Michigan University in his hometown of Ypsilanti, Michigan.
The high school sensation only averaged a disappointing 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game at the University of Memphis. He also missed 15 of 33 games because of a back injury that required him to return home to see a specialist.
For a kid that was a former five-star recruit and was supposed to be a top 5 pick in this year’s NBA draft, his future of playing in the NBA is certainly in limbo. His potential is obviously too high to skip over, and his impact this season at Eastern Michigan could still make him a projected top 5 pick once again. If his career continues in the same path, he might just be fighting to be a 2nd round draft pick, and will likely have to play in the G-League for0 at least a season to grow and develop in the pros.
Then again, A return to Michigan, playing not for Michigan State nor for Michigan, could be just what Bates needs to rebuild both his game and his personality as a top tier NBA prospect. Emoni is set to join a team that had a record of 10-21 last season, and will likely feature him as a clear No. 1 option on the team due to his obvious superstar potential that he brings. He immediately becomes the most high-profile player in the Mid-American Conference – the challenge of being on an Eastern Michigan team that hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 1998. If he can’t overcome this in a fairly easy conference to play in, then there’s no telling if he could make the NBA after struggling to find success in his game again.
I’m rooting for Emoni Bates, as his star status can ultimately change the basketball landscape. We know he has the talent, but does he have the will to overcome one bad season? We shall see, let’s see how he handles the adversity for the upcoming college basketball season.