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Former five-star recruit Emoni Bates verbally commits to Eastern Michigan

The Ypsilanti native returns home to bolster his hometown Eagles after a year in Memphis.

NCAA Basketball: East Carolina at Memphis Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Emoni Bates took the recruiting world by storm in 2021, as the Ypsilanti Prep product dominated the local scene en route to a consensus five-star rating, drawing offers from basketball powerhouses such as Michigan State, Kentucky, Florida State and Baylor before ultimately committing to Memphis to play under head coach Penny Hardaway.

2021 was an up-and-down season for the Tigers, with Bates making himself available in the transfer portal at season’s end.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bates, former 2020 Gatorade Player of the Year and 2021-22 Preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection, made the announcement on his Instagram page he’ll be coming home to Michigan to play basketball— at Eastern Michigan University. On3Sport’s Joe Tipton was first to report the news, with ESPN’s Jeff Borzello later independently confirming.

It’s a coup for the Eagles under second-year head coach Stan Heath, as the Eagles staff were able to lure the six-foot-nine, 190 lb. forward back to his hometown despite having two basketball powers within three-hour drives.

Bates played in 18 games for Memphis in 2021-22, starting 13, averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game, but his real potential is still yet to be revealed, as Bates was electric on the academy circuit, averaging 24.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game as a junior before his reclassification to the Class of 2021.

Bates’ 2020 Player of the Year campaign showed even more promise, as he averaged 32.4 points, nine rebounds, and 3.2 assists per year at Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti.

As of publication, Bates is not listed on the 2022-23 men’s basketball roster, and the EMU Men’s Basketball Twitter has not confirmed the signing.

This is a developing story and will be updated.