ANN ARBOR – Former star Ypsilanti high schooler and current No. 1-ranked transfer player Emoni Bates recently entered the transfer portal, where he named the Michigan Wolverines one of his top six destinations ahead of the 2022 college basketball season.
The other teams include Eastern Michigan, Louisville, Arkansas, DePaul, and Seton Hall.
Is the risk worth the reward?
Bates, who initially committed to Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans, played his freshman season with Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers.
Bates played 15 minutes and scored eight total points in two games during March Madness, one of which was against powerhouse Gonzaga. He scored five points in 12 minutes off of the bench in that contest.
He averaged 23 minutes per game, shot 38% from the floor, and hit 32% of his attempts from deep on four shots per game. He shot 64% from the free-throw line and averaged 9.7 points and 3 rebounds per game, so it’s safe to say he’s already played his worst season, and it is now out of his system, and a hard reset is much needed.
He felt he needed a total reset, and coming home could do that.
The old saying, “home is where the heart is,” may be what the doctor ordered for Bates to regain his confidence and become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft.
Due to his lackluster play and injuries, Bates’ stock has taken a drastic hit. He played so poorly that none of the blue blood schools such as Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and the NCAA Tournament runner-up North Carolina came calling, which is a telling sign.
The only blue blood team that reached out, according to reports, was the Maize and Blue, and if Bates did end up in Ann Arbor, it’s possible the reunion may be able to redeem his prominence as the No. 1 player in the nation.
Reports indicate that Michigan head coach Juwan Howard spent some time with Bates and his family in April. If Howard added Bates, it could entice other five-star recruits and/or transfers to come to Michigan in the future.
Howard and Bates were were seen together after Bates announced his six finalists. This is not the first time that coach Howard and the men in maize have had their eye on the 6-foot-9 guard.
The two had met before April, as Howard, Saddi Washington, and Fab Five member Jalen Rose were in attendance to watch the young phenom play ball at Lincoln High School.
The transfer portal has been a hot topic lately, and with the new rules set by the NCAA, Bates will not have to sit out a year, as he is eligible to play right away. With the NBA Draft Lottery being announced Tuesday (May 17), he might have been a first-round pick, but he did not turn 18 after January of this year.
NBA scouts had projected him as a first-round pick had he met the age requirements, but he reclassified and hasn’t turned 19 or been out of high school for a year.
According to reports, scholarships would be available for Michigan to add another player, as Brandon Johns and Frankie Collins transferred to other programs. Although they haven’t signed with an agent, Moussa Diabate and Caleb Houstan have entered the draft and have tested off the charts thus far, with Houstan being projected as a late first-rounder.
Rumors suggest that Bates is waiting until June to make his decision, and that could have something to do with the timelines of Diabate and Houstan choosing whether to go pro.
Bates’ decision to join the Wolverines could work wonders for his psyche, as he would be close to home, and we all know there’s nothing better than some good old-fashioned home cooking.
With the return of Hunter Dickinson and the transfer acquisition of Princeton guard Jaelin Llewellyn, the big fish is still at sea, waiting to be reeled in.