Emoni Bates, a lanky, 6-foot-9, 19-year-old NBA Draft prospect from Eastern Michigan is among several players in Thursday’s draft that the Cleveland Cavaliers could target at pick No. 49 in the second round.
After trading their 2023 first rounder to the Indiana Pacers in the deal that brought back Caris LeVert, Ricky Rubio and a second rounder (Andrew Nembhard) last year, the Cavs only have the aforementioned No. 49 pick (via Golden State Warriors ) unless higher up they choose to swing another trade.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic reported that the Cavs — along with the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks — have already looked into moving up in the draft to improve their odds of finding needle-moving talent. So it’s not too far-fetched that the Cavs could move up from No. 49 or simply trade into the first round while keeping their second round pick.
In any case, Bates is a talent that has already been linked to the Cavaliers.
According to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedorin addition to Kentucky product and Akron native Chris Livingston, “Eastern Michigan’s Emoni Bates, once a ballyhooed prep star who started his college career at Memphis before transferring, is also scheduled to work out for Cleveland ahead of the draft.”
So will Bates get the call to Cleveland at No. 49? Will he even fall that far below the draft, or will the Cavs have to trade up to get him?
Regardless of how it plays out, here are three things to know about the Eastern Michigan product.
Emoni Bates played for Memphis before transferring to Eastern Michigan
A high-profile prospect coming out of high school (to put it mildly, more on that later), Bates initially spent a lackluster freshman year at Memphis before blossoming on the court at Eastern Michigan, averaging 19.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists on 41.% shooting last season.
He averaged just 9.7 points per game. game on 39% shooting in his one season with Memphis under head coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.
But Bates’ prowess on the field wasn’t the worst of a tumultuous and short tenure with the Tigers marred in part by a back injury that forced him to miss time.
Emoni Bates Arrested on Felony Weapons Charge While in Memphis, Pleaded to Misdemeanor Charge
Bates was sentenced in December 2022 to 18 months of probation as a result of his arrest on weapons charges after he was pulled over in September. He pleaded to a misdemeanor weapons charge in October.
According to reports from The Detroit News: “Bates was arrested by the Washtenaw County Sherriff’s Department after running a stop sign on the night of September 18. He was arrested on two weapons charges after deputies searched his car and discovered an unloaded Glock 17C 9-millimeter that was not registered to him and was also missing one of its three serial numbers.”
If Bates completes the 18-month probation without further problems, the charge will be dropped, according to reporting by The Detroit News.
Any NBA team thinking about drafting Bates will undoubtedly have to consider his arrest record and whether his past off-court issues will weigh on their decision to select him.
Bates is still very young, but as NBA fans have seen repeatedly over the past several months with Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Ja Morant, involvement with firearms can jeopardize the careers of even the league’s brightest young stars.
Bates will need to put the legal troubles behind him and focus on contributing to his new team if he is to make an NBA roster.
Emoni Bates was the No. 1 basketball recruit in the country coming out of high school
A five-star prospect before heading to Memphis, Bates starred at Ypsi Prep Academy in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
His prep basketball career included three MaxPreps All-America selections. As a freshman in high school, Bates led Lincoln (also in Ypsilanti, Michigan) to the program’s first-ever state championship, averaging 28.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. For his efforts, he received MaxPrep Freshman of the Year honors as well as Michigan Division 1 Associated Press Player of the Year.
Needless to say, Bates is no stranger to the spotlight, as that light shined on him from a young age after dominating high school competition. He had a rocky road at the collegiate level, but the talent is clearly there.
For the Cavs, that could mean Bates is ultimately selected before they’re on the clock at No. 49, assuming other teams around the league aren’t overly concerned about his arrest record.
Emoni Bates basketball highlights
First, of course, are Bates’ highlights stemming from incredible success at the high school level:
From there, he showed flashes in Memphis, but ultimately had a down year with the Tigers:
The hype continued to grow from there, however, as Bates once again began to shine with Eastern Michigan, at one point dropping a ridiculous 29 straight points against Toledo en route to a 43-point explosion:
Bates has the pedigree of a former No. 1 overall college recruit. He has some baggage stemming from his time in Memphis, but he has already been linked to Cleveland in the pre-draft process, and many Cavs fans seem to like the prospect of adding Bates to a team that desperately has need more wing depth.
Whether Cleveland even has the opportunity to take him, however, must be revealed on draft night.