Emoni Bates, former No. 1 basketball recruit and Memphis Tiger, transferring to Eastern Michigan

Memphis transfer Emoni Bates, a former No. 1 high school basketball player, announced Wednesday that he is returning home to play for Eastern Michigan.

The Ypsilanti, Michigan star released a list of six schools in early May, including Michigan, Arkansas, Seton Hall, DePaul and Louisville, and Eastern Michigan. Other schools have been linked with Bates throughout the process, including Illinois and Kansas State, but he has chosen to return to his hometown and play for Stan Heath and the Eagles.

Bates, a 6-foot-9 small forward, was considered one of the nation’s elite basketball players throughout his high school career, ranking first in the 2022 class until he was reclassified last summer, finishing at No. 3 in 2021 .

Much like his transfer recruitment, Bates’ recruitment in high school was also a mystery. He originally committed to Michigan State in the summer of 2020 and then resumed his enlistment in April 2021, but it was widely expected that Bates would skip college and play professionally. But after the reclassification from 2022 to 2021, he committed to Memphis.

His only season under Penny Hardaway was uneven. He missed 15 of 33 games with a back injury that forced him to return home to see a specialist and he struggled when he was on the ground. Bates had at least 15 points in each of his first three games of the season but failed to match that mark for the rest of the season.

Bates averaged 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds with the Tigers.

He immediately becomes the most prominent player in the Mid-American Conference, where he plays for an eastern Michigan team that hasn’t made an NCAA tournament since 1998. Heath, who is entering his second season with the Eagles, has 12 years of experience as a head coach at major conferences from his days in Arkansas and South Florida.

Eastern Michigan went 10-21 overall last season, 5-15 on the MAC.

https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/34168918/emoni-bates-former-no-1-recruit-memphis-tiger-transferring-eastern-michigan Emoni Bates, former No. 1 basketball recruit and Memphis Tiger, transferring to Eastern Michigan

Emma Bowman

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