Without warning, Emoni Bates surprised the sports world by going on ESPN to announce his commitment to play basketball at Michigan State on Monday afternoon. Ranked as the nation’s top basketball prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, Bates has been a star as Ypsilanti Lincoln High School for the last two years.
However, Bates will not play for Lincoln for his upcoming junior year as his father decided to create a new prep school called Ypsi Prep Academy, still based in Ypsilanti.
Brad Galli of WXYZ Detroit first broke the news of the new Ypsi Prep Academy on Monday.
“It’s my hometown. I didn’t really want to leave, so I’ll stay here until it’s time for otherwise,” Bates told WXYZ.
It was reported that players from across the state and beyond are transferring to play for Ypsi Prep Academy. According to various reports, top-end 2022 recruits Dillon Hunter of Westlake High School in Georgia and Shawn Phillips of Belmont High School in Ohio are joining the team.
Galli tweeted top 2021 recruit Jaden Akins of Farmington will be joining the Ypsi Prep. Mt. Clemens 2022 standout Javaughn Hannah confirmed with MLive he will be joining the team as well. John McCrear will be leaving Ypsilanti Lincoln to join the new team as well, along with Grand Rapids Catholic Central’s Genesis Kemp, Orlando Lovejoy of Romulus Summit Academy, and a player named Traemon Norris.
The new Yspi Prep Academy is the brainchild of Bates’ father, Elgin Bates.
“It’s been in the making for quite some time, trying to do something unprecedented in the state of Michigan that really hasn’t been done,” Elgin told WXYZ.
It appears the academy will have no ties with the Michigan High School Athletic Association, meaning the team will be ineligible to play for a state championship.
“If what I’ve seen is correct, it looks like its a basketball prep school … We don’t allow membership for sports academies and things like that,” MHSAA media and content coordinator Geoff Kimmerly told MLive. “No one (from Ypsi Prep) has reached out to us. We didn’t know anything about it, to be honest. I would assume (MHSAA membership) is not on their list of things. Yeah, we haven’t heard from them.”
Bates is a five-star prospect who is also regarded by some as the state’s top prospect regardless of graduating class. He won a state championship with Ypsilanti Lincoln as a freshman in 2019 and was looking to defend the state title this winter before the coronavirus canceled the remainder of the basketball season.
Despite his shortened sophomore season this winter, Bates was named the Gatorade National Boys Player of the Year after averaging 32.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 50-percent from the field and 37-percent from 3-point range. He is the first sophomore to ever win the national honor from Gatorade. Previous players who won the award include NBA greats Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
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