‘Six-star’ Emoni Bates lands Duke basketball offer, likes Blue Devils

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Duke basketball coaches have reportedly entered the race for a 15-year-old many are touting as the next household name.

Ratings for 2022 prospects are not yet available on 247Sports. But the buzz suggests the max five-star rating is insufficient for Ypsilanti High School (Mich.) small forward Emoni Bates, a “six-star” who now holds a Duke basketball offer — per an Instagram story on Wednesday from Tipton Edits.

Not only is the 6-foot-8, 200-pound unicorn essentially a lock to be No. 1 when 2022 rankings come out, but some experts see him as the best prep prospect regardless of class. Bates regularly draws comparisons to Kevin Durant.

"“He’s one of the more polished players I’ve ever seen,” 247Sports director of basketball recruiting Evan Daniels said of the rising sophomore. “Since I’ve been doing this, I haven’t seen a talent like this at that age.”"

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Daniels explained further:

"“The kid is the ultimate competitor; he has that nasty to him…I think it’s a variety of things. Obviously, he has some impressive physical tools at his size; he’s a good athlete. But the thing that really stands out is his skill set. He has advanced scoring moves and just ridiculous footwork for a kid his age.“I think it’s that combination of things that makes him certainly the best freshman talent that I’ve scouted at that stage.”"

At this stage, though, due to an expectation that the one-and-done rule will end just in time for Bates’ graduation — i.e., he’s likely a “none-and-done” college player — the length of Bates’ offer sheet doesn’t stack up to his hype. Apparently, though, Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants view the situation with an open mind — as Bates’ father believes all coaches should.

"“For us, you weigh all options,” Elgin Bates told CBSSports’ Matt Norlander in July. “College is an option. The NBA, if that’s available when he graduates, that’s an option too — but that’s not the goal. He’s still got to stay focused, continue to get better each day, train, and continue what we’ve been doing.“We can’t just sit and say, ‘Well, let’s just work the next three years and we can go to the league.’ No, within the next three years you might want to go to college for a year. Who knows?”"

Of course, like seemingly every other elite recruit these days, skipping ahead a year is an option — meaning before Bates cashes in his talents, he could join the 2021 class of some lucky program. To date, only Duke, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida State, and Georgia have delivered an invite.

"“It’s been mentioned a lot in my house, reclassing up after my junior year and playing a freshman year in college,” Bates explained to Norlander."

And even before the news of the Duke offer, Bates implied the Blue Devils are on his radar.

"“I like a lot of schools,” Bates admitted to Tipton Edits, “but I like MSU, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and Georgia.”"

And Duke basketball fans should like the fact Coach K and his cohorts are dreaming big rather than just assuming Bates will ultimately never seriously consider college.

No other Duke offers are on the table for the 2022 class. But the staff in Durham has extended offers to five 2021 targets. Though none are “six-stars” — like Bates should be — all are five-stars: shooting guard Max Christie, small forward Jonathan Kuminga, small forward Patrick Baldwin Jr., small forward A.J. Griffin, and power forward Paolo Banchero.

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