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Michigan State basketball: Emoni Bates opens up about decision to decommit

Emoni apparently liked the Memphis coaching staff a ton.



Michigan State basketball
© Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Emoni Bates finally opened up about his decision to decommit from Michigan State basketball a couple of years ago.

The former Michigan State basketball commit is finally speaking up about his exit.

Once hailed as “the next Kevin Durant”, Emoni Bates was expected to be the crown jewel of Michigan State’s 2022 class. He originally committed to Michigan State in June 2020 but his commitment was short lived as he eventually chose to leave the Spartans and head to Memphis.

In a sit-down interview with Shams Charania, Bates talks about his thought process in his decisions. Bates said he committed to Michigan State when he was young and felt he hadn’t actually explored all of his options.

One of the more notable parts of the interview is when Bates says when he began exploring his options:

”That’s when Memphis came along. With the coaching staff they had, Rasheed, Coach Brown, Penny, that was one of the better coaching staffs in the country at that time. I made that decision to be able to better grow my game.”

There has been a lot of speculation in the past regarding Bates commitment to Michigan State. It’s been assumed that some of the tension between Bates and former teammate Jaden Akins played a role in Bates decomitting. While Bates and Akins were teammates, there were numerous rumblings of the players not seeing eye-to-eye and even having multiple altercations with one another. These were widely circulated rumors. When Michigan State and Tom Izzo chose to stick with Akins, it all but felt like the nail in the coffin of Bates’ time with the Spartans.

Whatever the ultimate reason for Bates moving from East Lansing to Memphis, we’ll likely never have full clarity. For Spartan fans however, they won’t like the insinuation that the Memphis coaching staff was a better option than Tom Izzo. Bates’ time in Memphis was, by all accounts, underwhelming for both him and the team. Izzo has now had the chance to see Jaden Akins develop into a game-changing type player on a roster ready to compete for a national title.

Bates has had an up-and-down journey to the NBA draft process. In his time with Eastern Michigan, you saw glimpses of his potential, like his gave versus Michigan. Bates, however, has played rather inconsistently.

One can’t help but wonder how Bates’ journey may have differed if he stuck with Michigan State and had the opportunity to be molded both on and off the court by a Hall of Fame coach like Izzo.