Emoni Bates was already a known commodity among some basketball circles. He dominated the middle school scene, his highlights on YouTube amassed hundreds of thousands of views and his game on the court spoke for itself. When you take that combined with his 6’8 frame he was certainly a young prospect that looked the part, everybody was just waiting to see what he could do at the next level.
Well… Bates somehow lived up to all the hype finishing with possibly one of the best freshman years ever. The top-ranked freshman was named Gatorade Player of the Year and won a Division 1 state title all in a single weekend. He also averaged 28.7 points and 10.2 rebounds a game on the year leading his team to a 23-4 overall record.
What’s even more impressive is the way Bates lead Ypsilanti to their first state championship ever. In the first playoff game of his career Bates went off for 26 points and 12 rebounds beating and sweeping their rival school, advancing to the district round.
He followed up that performance with another 26-point game and game winning 3-point shot with just 10 seconds left, giving Ypsilanti Lincoln a 58-55 win over Ann Arbor Skyline.
If somehow that didn’t make you believe the hype, Bates dropped 36 points and hit another game winning shot in the closing seconds, this time a put back off a missed shot. Ypsilanti Lincoln took home their first regional championship defeating Detroit Catholic Central 81-79.
Bates freshman year ended this past Saturday in spectacular fashion when Ypsilanti Lincoln defeated Detroit U-D Jesuit 64-62 in the Division 1 State Championship game. Bates finished with 23 points while his teammate Jalen Fisher hit the game winning shot at the buzzer.
However in the final sequence Bates made a very mature play for someone his age. The game was tied at 62 with just second’s left; Bates dribbled the ball up the floor looking to take the last shot. U-D Jesuit trapped Bates but he was able to find a teammate for an open shot rather than turn the ball over or force a bad shot. His teammate did not make the shot but the rebound when straight to Fisher who was able to sink it at the buzzer.
With a freshman year for the ages wrapped up Bates future could not look brighter. He was already receiving Division I offers before this playoff run, it sure looks like he will be able to play college ball wherever he wants to go. Bates isn’t focused on that now though, he is concentrating on school and taking his development one year at a time.
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