On June 29, Eastern Michigan University received outstanding news that Ypsilanti native Emoni Bates announced his commitment to play for the EMU basketball program.
Emoni Bates, former number one pick of the 2022 graduating class, is a 6’9” forward who originally committed to Memphis in 2021. Due to a back injury, Bates only appeared in 18 games for the Tigers, averaging 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Bates attended Ypsilanti Lincoln High School, leading the Railsplitters to a Division 1 state title, and averaged 32.4 points per game in 2019.
Bates will easily be considered the best player in the Mid-American Conference, but there has been a lot of talk about the positives and negatives of his decision to return home.
Being surrounded by family and friends that have pushed him to be the athlete he is today will bring a great atmosphere to prepare Bates for the NBA draft. Playing college basketball in your hometown will also attract lots of attention. This will create additional pressure on Bates, which he will have to utilize to prepare himself for the league.
Playing for EMU could be difficult considering the team is a mid-major program, so Bates will be forced into a specific role that requires leadership without falling too much into an AAU style of play.
The MAC is not a power conference, but it still has several great college players that Bates will face. The conference has had three NCAA tournament wins in the last four years, proving that this league should not be underestimated.
With Bates' talent and coming home to his roots, I believe he has the upper hand and potential to make a huge impact on EMU’s basketball program and his career. The connections and resources that come with playing so close to home provide unique opportunities that can be used to create tremendous results to prepare for the 2023 NBA draft.