Emoni Bates is still only 18 years old, but her life in basketball already has enough chapters to fill a novel. At 15, Bates was touted as a future NBA superstar, drawing comparisons to “a young Kevin Durant” by ESPN and said he “often looks like a 6’9″ Stephen Curry,” in a Sports cover story. Illustrated.
From that point on, interest waned: Bates’ meandering high school career chilled much of the hyperbole, with scouts noting his negative wingspan, shaky defense, and first-, second-, and third-party mentality that plagued him. made it difficult to fit into traditional team structures. . Bates graduated early and committed to Memphis, starting freshman year at age 17 who was the youngest player in college basketball. After 18 uneven games, he was out of training for almost the rest of the season due to a mysterious back injury.
Bates entered the transfer portal and skirted bigger offers to return home to his home state to play for one of the worst teams in college hoops, the Eastern Michigan Eagles. As soon as he arrived on campus, he was arrested for a firearm.
Just when it looked like Bates had hit rock bottom, he reminded everyone of his immense talent as he spoke for Eastern Michigan. Bates snagged 30 points at Michigan in his Eagles debut, dropped 36 points to South Carolina a month later and continued to put in big performances between the two. On Tuesday night, Bates had his best game yet: 43 points on 9-for-14 three-pointers, including 29 straight points in the first half. Watch the remarkable highlights here:
Bates’ shooting efficiency on the night was insane: he went 15 of 23 from the field and got just four trips to the foul line (making all four) the entire game. Although every Toledo player knows Bates was looking to score the ball, he continued to pace the attack nearly every possession with tough shot after tough shot.
Toledo still beat Eastern Michigan, 84-79. The Eagles are 4-16 this year and currently rank 333rd out of 363 in DI this season, according to KenPom. They were no better last season without Bates, finishing 10-21 and ranking No. 316 at KenPom.
The Eagles may be terrible, but Bates has rightfully been a star scorer all year. Just days away from his 19th birthday, he has rejuvenated his basketball career and can say he has regained at least some interest in the NBA. Bates was the 26th overall pick in our last 2023 NBA Mock Draft.
Bates knew he wasn’t going to single-handedly bring Eastern Michigan to the fore – the program’s issues are far too deep for that – but he injected genuine excitement around the program. Those flash stars he showed at such a young age are still ubiquitous: he has so much versatility as a shooter, hitting backwards on the dribble, running around screens and draining shots beyond range of the NBA. He’s proven he can be a consistent scorer all year even though he’s not the most efficient shooter (he came into the game shooting just under 35 percent from three). He’s still one of the youngest sophomores in the country, and he just keeps getting better.
Bates will finally be old enough to make the NBA draft this summer, and if he says so, he’ll have every chance to prove he can earn a spot in the league whether he’s drafted or not. Regardless of his future, Bates’ turnaround is considered one of the feel-good stories of the college basketball season.
A story with so many twists and turns can always have a happy ending.
. Emoni bates is history wellbeing basketball college after got almost hit background