Emoni Bates: The 14-Year Old Prodigy From Michigan Makes Rounds on NYC Courts

Photo courtesy of Nicole Sweet Sports.

By David Cordova

In the world of grassroots basketball, there is always bound to be competition, especially amongst players. When someone is ranked ahead of you, there is always the chance that you can upstage them in order to show why you are better. But if you’re in the top spot, it is always imperative that you show why you’re No. 1 and worthy of such a ranking.

In the case of Emoni Bates, it’s always time for him to show and prove. He is a 6-foot-7 forward that has already been compared to NBA All-Star Kevin Durant because of his ability to dominate smaller players and because of his versatile skills and long wingspan that may one day land him into the pros.

“I jus keep playing all day, every day.” said Bates.

Bates tries to skip through his defender. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Sweet Sports)

Bates hails from Ypsilanti, Michigan, a town that is about 40 minutes away from Detroit and less than 20 minutes away from Ann Arbor, which is the city in which the University of Michigan. “It’s good, it’s real good for me, because it made me the person I am today.”

For the last couple of years, Bates has been one of the biggest names on the middle school basketball scene and has been a huge part of the Bates Fundamentals program, which was founded by his father, Elgin “E.J.” Bates, who played collegiate basketball at Kentucky Wesleyan University and played professionally in Germany and Switzerland.

With the tutelage of his father, the younger Bates has soared and continues to soar every day. As for the Bates Fundamentals program, they are one of the best AAU programs in the country, and made it all the way to finals of the MADE Hoops 8th Grade Finale in Augusta, Georgia, where they would fall to Nightrydas Elite, 59-55.

However, Bates held his own on the MADE Hoops circuit, and for that reason, he is rated as the No. 1 prospect in the high school class of 2022. When asked how he felt about being No. 1 prospect in his class, he replied, “It’s alright, but I don’t really care about that.”

Bates swats a shot on defense during the Futures Showcase Game at the world-famous Rucker Park in Harlem. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Sweet Sports)

With that answer, it shows that rankings are not important to him, but the goal at hand is to get a Division I scholarship and maybe, a chance at the pros. In June, Bates was featured in SLAM Magazine, an amazing honor considering that he has yet to hdave played a high school game.

On August 2nd, Bates came to New York City to compete in the SLAM Showdown, a series in which SLAM has elite talent come out to play on the asphalt, and is something that leads up to the SLAM Summer Classic, which will take place on August 18th at Monsignor Kett Playground in the Inwood section of Manhattan, which also doubles as the home of the famed Dyckman Basketball Tournament.

Unfortunately, due to rainy weather, the game, which was also a part of the Nike’s New York vs. New York tournament, had to be moved indoors to Riverbank State Park in Harlem. Bates played in front of a huge crowd, for Team Watson. Although he didn’t score much, he did little things on the defensive end and also played defense.

Bates soars to the rim. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Sweet Sports)

Two days later, on August 4th, Bates got the chance at the world-famous Rucker Park in Harlem, as he played in the NY vs NY Showcase Game, which showed plenty of the best players in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. Bates showed the reason why he is rated high in his class, with impressive slams, and also a couple of blocked shots on defense.

When asked if he enjoyed playing in New York, he replied, “It was good.” Also, if he would ever come back to hoop in the Big Apple, he replied, “Most definitely, yeah.”

This fall, Bates will be entering high school at Lincoln High School in his native Ypsilanti and plans to make an impact there.

When asked about his strengths and weaknesses, he replied, “My strengths are that I go to the basket and shoot a lot. My weakness is my left hand, and I’m trying to work on that every day.”

In the next couple of years, Emoni Bates will rise as a dominant player. The muscles will grow and the skills will continue to be there. When asked what’s next in his future, he simply replied, “Greatness. Greatness.”

Highlights of Emoni Bates:

Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.

Courtesy of Elite Mixtapes.

Courtesy of Eric Gets Buckets.

Courtesy of Ballislife.

Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.

Courtesy of Lob City Productions.

Courtesy of City League Hoops TV.

Courtesy of SLAM.

Courtesy of Hoop Diamonds.

2 thoughts on “Emoni Bates: The 14-Year Old Prodigy From Michigan Makes Rounds on NYC Courts

  1. Just so you know. Ann Arbor is a neighboring city of Ypsilanti. They’re not 48 minutes apart. You could walk from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti.


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