Now that Emoni Bates has announced his commitment to Michigan State , everyone wants to know: will he ever play there? He said himself — just moments before pulling on a Spartans hat Monday afternoon — he’s not sure what the future holds.
Bates will have other options on the table, including the possibility of going straight to the NBA if the league lowers its age requirement to 18.
Here’s one thing that might work in Michigan State’s favor: Bates, currently the top player in the class of 2022, intends to reclassify and graduate in 2021, according to Sports Illustrated . So even if the NBA adjusts its eligibility rules, Bates, who doesn’t turn 18 until January of 2022, would still have the 2021-22 season to kill.
The alternatives to Michigan State would be the NBA’s G League or playing overseas. But not the NBA. And while the G League might seem like the most appealing option with its lucrative new path to the NBA — a path chosen by several top players in the class of 2020 — Bates told ESPN he’d rather play in college.
“It’s good for certain players. That’s a lot of money … I don’t think I’ll do it,” he said. “It’s good for some people, but I don’t think I’ll head that route.”
In theory, that would leave two options on the table for the Ypsilanti native: going up to the road to Michigan State or going overseas. And by then, depending on what happens with Name-Image-Likeness laws in the NCAA, college players might be up for a payday.
For now, one thing is certain. Bates will leave Ypsilanti Lincoln and finish his high school career at the prep school his father is opening this fall: Ypsilanti Prep Aim High. The team will boast a roster full of future D-1 players and play a national schedule.
“He’s ready for it, basketball-wise. It’s more of an intimate setting, a more controlled environment,” his father told SI. “Importantly for me, it’s the progression of him continuing to get better with like-minded guys trying to accomplish the same goal. It became too hazardous … ‘Who is going to try to tick him off tonight to get him out of character? Who is going to throw a ball at his head?’ It’s time to move forward and just move on.”