Updated: Oct 16
Tom Izzo has had some pretty big recruiting fails over the last couple of years. There are some high-level recruits that he had a pretty big lead on just for them to flip at the last moment. Players like Josh Jackson, Jabari Parker, Vernon Carey, and Isaiah Stewart are examples of this. Tom Izzo wanted to make sure this didn't happen with Emoni Bates. Bates has been called the best high school prospect since LeBron James and this get is huge for Michigan State. He is only the 7th recruit to earn a perfect 1.000 from 247sports.com.
Bates grew up in Ypsilanti Michigan, which is 1 hour from the Michigan State campus. Tom Izzo started recruiting him when he was in middle school. Bates has visited the Michigan State campus many times and has fallen in love. He only received offers from 5 schools. Those schools were: Michigan State, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida State, and DePaul. The two teams it came down to were Michigan State and Michigan.
Emoni Bates' commitment doesn't really mean anything for the 2020-21 season. Recruiting is pretty much wrapped up and so is Michigan State's rotation. There is a small chance Canadian prospect Karim Mane commits, but he should keep his name in the NBA Draft. Aaron Henry and Xavier Tillman might go pro or come back. It sounds like Aaron Henry has a high chance of coming back and Xavier Tillman is still weighing his options. It also sounds like Joshua Langford is back with the team and might come back. If Tillman, Henry, and Langford are back, the depth chart should look like this:
Point Guard: 1. Rocket Watts (SO) 2. A.J. Hoggard (FR)
Shooting Guard: 1. Joshua Langford (SR) 2. Gabe Brown (JR)
Small Forward: 1. Aaron Henry (JR) 2. Malik Hall (SO)
Power Forward: 1. Joey Hauser (JR) 2. Thomas Kithier (JR) 3. Julius Marble (SO)
Center: 1. Xavier Tillman (SR) 2. Mady Sissoko (FR) 3. Marcus Bingham (JR)
With this team, Michigan State would be at the top of college basketball next year. It wouldn't surprise me to see Aaron Henry bringing the ball up the court and Rocket Watts playing off the ball because Henry is the better passer. Last year, Michigan State really lacked a second shooter after Cassius Winston. But this year, they get Joey Hauser, a lights out transfer from Marquette and Joshua Langford, who has been injured since December of 2018.
It is believed that Emoni Bates will reclassify to 2021 and play for Michigan State during the 2021-22 season. Bates will only be a junior in high school this year, but since he formed Ypsi Prep Academy, he can actually get enough credits to graduate high school this year. Emoni Bates should have a huge impact on recruiting for this season. It is believed that a 5-star shooting guard, Max Christie will commit to Michigan State pretty soon. 4-star guard, Jaden Akins, who is planning to play with Bates on his Ypsi Prep team also has ties to MSU and it is believed he will commit as well.
For the 2021-22 season, Michigan State will likely have three starters gone in Aaron Henry, Joshua Langford, and Xavier Tillman. These roles will likely be taken by Emoni Bates, Max Christie, and Mady Sissoko. Mady is a 6'9'' 230 pound center with an extremely high motor. Tom Izzo loves these kinds of players. Sissoko already is a great defender but will likely need a year before he starts so he can develop his offensive game. If Michigan State gets Bates, Akins, and Christie, the 2021-22 depth chart should look like this:
Point Guard: 1. Rocket Watts (JR) 2. A.J. Hoggard (SO) 3. Jaden Akins (FR)
Shooting Guard: 1. Max Christie (FR) 2. Gabe Brown (SR)
Small Forward: 1. Emoni Bates (FR) 2. Malik Hall (JR)
Power Forward: 1. Joey Hauser (SR) 2. Thomas Kithier (SR) 3. Julius Marble (JR)
Center: 1. Mady Sissoko (SO) 2. Marcus Bingham (SR)
This Michigan State team will likely have young starters with a very experienced bench. Watts, Christie, Bates, and Hauser will form an offense that is almost impossible to stop. Sissoko will be the man in the middle and block any shot that comes his way. Off the bench, Michigan State will have a lot of experience with 3 seniors and 1 junior. This team has the potential to be scary good.
While I do think there is a decently high chance of this actually happening, I know in the back of my mind that Bates might not even step foot on the Michigan State campus. Emoni Bates has already said he isn't going to the G-League, which is a great sign for Michigan State fans. Bates could go overseas, but if he didn't want to go to the G-League, I don't understand why he would want to go overseas because he would be making a similar amount of money and he would be farther away. The only way I can see Bates not coming to Michigan State is if the NBA says you can go straight from high school to the draft. He has already said if the NBA gives him that option, he will take it.
If Bates doesn't come to Michigan State, they will still be a pretty good team. They should keep Max Christie because it seemed he was going to commit anyway even before Bates committed. While the NBA has expressed interest in letting high schoolers enter the league, it hasn't really been talked about like it's going to happen any time soon. Adam Silver has said he doesn't see them doing it before 2022 as it wouldn't be fair to the teams who have already traded their picks.
I am pretty confident Bates will end up going to Michigan State. He should attract recruits and transfers not just for the 2021-22 season, but beyond that as well. If he goes to Michigan State, it will be their best recruit ever and their first 5-star since Jaren Jackson Jr. It is a little weird to me how the best recruit since LeBron James is going to Michigan State because that never seems to happen. Michigan State is in a fantastic position for success in the early 2020s and beyond.
I hope you liked this article on Michigan State's future. Comment down below if I should preview any other teams and their futures. I will definitely start to do more of these as it gets closer to the college basketball season.