Emoni Bates, a five-star small forward and the consensus No. 1 player in the Class of 2022, has verbally committed to attending Michigan State and playing for coach Tom Izzo.
Bates revealed his choice during a Monday afternoon interview on “SportsCenter.”
"I'm not sure what the future may hold but as of now I'm committing to Michigan State," Bates said. "They've been showing me love since I was in seventh grade and have been recruiting me for a long time.”
Bates, a Ypsilanti native who stands 6-foot-8, received a glowing scouting report from Rivals:
One of the top prospects that Rivals.com has ever scouted, Bates has few if any weaknesses on the floor.
He has tremendous size for his position, is a long and fluid athlete, plays with fire and is ridiculously skilled for his size and age. He shoots with range, handles the ball like a point guard and rebounds like a top flight big man.
In April, Bates became the first sophomore ever to win the Gatorade Player of the Year award. Past winners include LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Love and R.J. Barrett. Jayson Tatum, who won the award in 2016, personally congratulated Bates, and couldn’t stop praising his game.
“He has all the tools to be a great player,” Tatum said. “He’s tall, long, can score from all over the court and has a great feel for the game. He’s the real deal.”
Bates isn’t just considered the best prospect in the Class of 2022. Some consider him to be the best high school prospect since LeBron James in 2003. That gives his slightly soft “as of now” commitment to Michigan State a little more context, because it’s possible that Bates doesn’t attend college at all. The NBA is expected to change its draft eligibility rules in the next few years, possibly eliminating the one-and-done rule that prevents high school players from being eligible for the draft upon graduation.
Even if that rule change doesn’t happen, it’s still not guaranteed that Bates will attend college. He could choose to play internationally, and the NBA’s G League Pathway for elite high school players could also be an option.
More from Yahoo Sports: