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Former No. 1 Recruit Emoni Bates Will Transfer To Eastern Michigan

Emoni Bates is headed back to his home state of Michigan. Bates, the former No. 1 recruit in America who spent his freshman year of college playing for the Memphis Tigers before entering the transfer portal, told Joe Tipton of On3 that he’s made up his mind, but it comes with a pretty big twist: Instead of suiting up for Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans or Juwan Howard’s Michigan Wolverines, Bates is going to his hometown of Ypsilanti to play for Eastern Michigan.

“People probably look at me crazy because I’m considering Eastern,” Bates told On3. “But if I went there, I would be like the neighborhood hero. I used to play at Eastern during my high school games when I was at Lincoln, and we used to pack it out every time. That would be crazy for me to be able to bring love to the city.”

Bates played his high school ball at Lincoln before transferring to Ypsi Prep Academy. He established himself as the top player in the class of 2022 before reclassifying and committing to Penny Hardaway’s Tigers as a top-10 recruit.

That first year at Memphis featured some bumps in the road, as he appeared in 18 games due to injuries and averaged 9.7 points a night. Because of his age, Bates was not able to make the jump to the NBA at the conclusion of his first year out of high school. Now, he’ll join an Eagles team coached by former Arkansas coach Stan Heath. The team plays in the MAC and went 10-21 during the 2021-22 campaign.