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Why Emoni Bates’ play has NBA evaluators worried, and what’s next for Bates

High school basketball phenom Emoni Bates, perceived within the industry as a strong candidate to become the top pick in the 2023 NBA draft, decommitted from Michigan State last week to raise questions about the future of the 17-year-old star. If Bates isn’t attending Michigan State in the fall of 2022, where is he headed? Will it be college basketball, the G League path or another route for Bates?

Beyond his next destination, Bates’ recent play has also elicited some questions about the particulars of his game. What elements of Bates’ play have NBA scouts and other evaluators worried? What parts of his game has he delivered on — or even doubled down on — since Bates burst onto the scene as a 14-year-old? Has the supporting cast Bates has played alongside since transferring from Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to Ypsi Prep — a school created by his father, Elgin — helped or harmed Bates’ growth? ESPN basketball reporters Jonathan Givony and Jeff Borzello honed in on these questions and others, including a road map for what the next year could look like for the Michigan native.


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