Emoni Bates — the top high school prospect in the nation, regardless of division — will make his basketball debut at Ypsi Prep Academy against 7-foot-1 Chet Holmgren, the nation’s No. 1 senior, on national television Thursday.
Bates – also the nation’s top prospect of 2022 – and his team are set to take on Holmgren’s side Minnehaha Academy (Team Sizzle) at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The match will be played at Concordia University in Ann Arbor.
The showdown is the middle-of-three game that is part of the 2020 GEICO ESPN high school basketball showcase, with other games including Lake Norman Christian (NC) vs. Oak Hill Academy (Va.) at 19 pm in Virginia and Air Nado (Nevada) against Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, California) at 10 pm in Phoenix.
Bates, the 6ft 9in former Ypsilanti Lincoln star, will play his first match since announcing his commitment to Michigan State this summer as well as his decision to leave Lincoln for Newly founded Ypsi Prep Academy trained by his father, Elgin, who also coaches the team.
In addition to Bates, Ypsi Prep has a slew of talented players, including 4-star guard JaVaughn Hannah, 4-star center Shawn Phillips, 4-star guard Dillon Hunter and fellow MSU Jaden Akins, among others.
It’s likely to be one of the biggest matchups across the country this year with two of the best basketball players in the United States going head-to-head in front of a national audience.
Holmgren, a Minnesota native, is ranked the best senior in the country, according to ESPN, and has a roster of contenders including North Carolina, Georgetown, Ohio State and Michigan.
The lanky forward, who weighs just 194 pounds as a 7-footer, averaged 14.3 points last season and led Minnehaha to a 25-3 record and 18.3-point average and 11 sophomore rebounds en route to a state title.
Bates led Lincoln to a state championship as a rookie in 2019 and was named Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year last season after averaging 32.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3 assists and 2. 1 steals while shooting 50% from the field and 37% from the 3-point line.
Thursday’s match will be the first of several highly anticipated matches for Bates and Ypsi Prep. The team is also scheduled to face Sierra Canyon – the team of LeBron’s son Bronny James – on November 21 and is reportedly planning to face IMG Academy on January 18, which is the team of Michigan’s New 5 Star Commitment Moussa Diabate.