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247Sports weighs in on Emoni Bates’ MSU commitment, NBA future

Emoni Bates announced his commitment to Michigan State on Monday, but will he ultimately end up with the Spartans? A generational prospect, the five-star small forward from Ypsilanti (Mich.) Lincoln could have options.

After Bates effectively ended his recruitment, the next question almost immediately became whether he would stick with MSU or go the professional route, knowing the NBA and G League could be on the table.

On an emergency episode of the 247Sports College Basketball Show with host Tani Levitt, basketball recruiting analyst Brian Snow weighed in.

“I would say, probably, it’s 50/50,” Snow said. “… I would say it’s 50/50 that he ever ends up at Michigan State, but there’s so much time. First of all, there’s just a ton of options. He can move up to 2021 and reclassify and go to Michigan State in 2021. He could wait out 2022, see if the NBA (collective bargaining agreement) changes and they let kids get drafted right out of high school. He could also see what goes on with this G League path and maybe get close to a million dollars to go to that, because he’s going to have the biggest name recognition and the biggest hype of anybody. So there are so many options available to him.

“Personally, my guess — I think he would prefer to go right to the NBA, which is pretty logical because that’s how you make the most money. But in terms of is that realistic? I don’t think so. I don’t think the NBA’s going to change the rule. I really don’t. I could be wrong. (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver wants the rule changed, but there’s a lot of people he has to answer to that don’t want the rule changed. And then you add in the fact that the CBA is going to be in a little bit of a hectic state because of this pandemic, I don’t know if that is going to be something that is high on the to-do list, when getting a new CBA done.

“So I tend to think it’s ultimately going to come down to some professional option and Michigan State, but we’ll have to see how that goes. But right now, I’d say it’s far from a lock that he ever ends up in East Lansing. But I’ll say this — Emoni’s a loyal kid, man. He really is. And right now, that is his plan and that he’s headed to college.”

Bates is the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2022 recruiting class. If he eventually signs with Michigan State and longtime head coach Tom Izzo, the Spartans could immediately become favorites to win a national championship in the spring of 2023.

“I think so,” Snow said. “I mean, he’s that good. Obviously, it’s very hard and the way that a national championship is decided in college isn’t necessarily the way of picking the best team because so much can happen in a tournament setting.

“But in terms of one-and-done guys, he’s the one since Anthony Davis that is like, ‘That dude can really do it.’ Anthony Davis did it at Kentucky (in 2012), Carmelo Anthony did it at Syracuse (in 2003), where they led their team — and I genuinely think Emoni Bates is that good where he can do it.

“Now, if anything, I think that they can be the favorite, but I would still not bet my money on it because it’s easier to take the field than one team. But Emoni Bates absolutely does have that ability.”

Still growing, Bates has two years of high school basketball left. As he continues to develop his game, the potential down the road is one MSU — and college basketball — fans should be keeping their fingers crossed about.

“A big get for Michigan State,” Snow said. “I mean, it’s the best prospect in high school basketball right now and might’ve even been last year as well. So this is a kid — he’s an elite talent, he’s 6-foot-8 and he looks like he’s still going to grow. He’s got long arms, he’s a good athlete, he’s really skilled and he loves he game.

“He’s always playing hard. He works hard. His work ethic is legendary. What he does, day in and day out, has really helped him separate him from some of the other guys in the class. … And quite honestly, Tom Izzo was the only coach recruiting him, so it wasn’t like he had a lot of competition. But to get him done and to not have to worry about it this early of a stage is a big deal.”

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