Mia Zanzucchi

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Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

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Emoni Bates, the No. 1 college basketball prospect for the Class of 2022, announced his commitment to Michigan State.

“They get all my respect, really,” Bates said to ESPN about Michigan State. “I love how they coach, Coach Izzo, I like how they focus on defense more than offense. That’s a big key in basketball and people don’t understand that. On and off the court, he has passion. He’s just an amazing guy, overall.”

Bates father, Elgin, told NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster last week that the Spartans were the only program to reach out to Emoni when college coaches were allowed to contact high school sophomores.

The 6-foot-9 Lincoln High School (Ypsilanti, Mich.) guard became the youngest person to win the Gatorade High School Boys Basketball National Player of the Year as a 16-year-old sophomore. As a freshman, he led his school to its first state title, and was cruising toward a second this year before the COVID-19 pandemic prematurely ended the season.

Bates is considered one of the best high school prospects of this generation, garnering comparisons to Kevin Durant dating back to his freshman season in high school. He has the size and length of a power forward with the perimeter skills of a shooting guard.

Next year, Bates will start at a new prep school that his father is opening in Michigan.