At one time, Emoni Bates was the biggest name in amateur basketball. Not much has gone according to plan since then, but that doesn’t mean he can’t play like a future superstar at times.
Bates, who is now suiting up for Eastern Michigan, showed his potential Tuesday by posting 29 straight points for the Eagles in a conference game against Toledo. He made seven 3-pointers and nailed in two dunks during the Supernova process:
Bates finished with 43 points on 15-of-23 shooting (9-of-14 from 3-point range) and seven rebounds.
Few Mac games generate interest from the NBA, but at least one celebrity was impressed by Bates’ display: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who has admired Bates since high school.
James isn’t the only NBA star to take note of Bates, as he has attracted attention from Kevin Durant since his transfer from Memphis. Bates was compared to both players during his high school career.
Emoni Bates is trying to find a new path to the NBA.
Bates in 2011. He made history in 2020 by becoming the first sophomore to be named the National Gatorade Player of the Year, joining the likes of Jayson Tatum, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Bell and Yes James to win the award twice. .
For a while, it looked like Beats might be leading a new generation of pro-to-pro players, but instead he landed in Penny Hardaway’s Memphis program as part of a historically good recruiting class.
Battis’ Tiger career wasn’t exactly stellar. At 17, he was the youngest player in college basketball and struggled to keep up with his peers. In his injury-limited first year, he averaged 9.7 points per game while shooting a brutal 38.6% from the field. Overall, it was a bad year for Memphis, but the Tigers went 10-2 without Bates and 12-9 with him.
That season ended with Bates entering the transfer portal and heading to Eastern Michigan, in his hometown of Michigan. That tenure got off to a rocky start when he was arrested on gun charges in September, but he eventually apologized and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
On the court, Bates looks like a top recruit for the Eagles. He entered Tuesday averaging a team-high 19.3 points and 5.6 rebounds on 34.4% shooting from deep. Of course, those numbers are against a team that entered the playoffs at 4-15, but as Tuesday showed there is little star left in a player once considered a lock for NBA success.