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No. 1 recruit Emoni Bates decommits from Michigan State, may not play college basketball at all

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Emoni Bates, quite possibly the best NBA prospect since LeBron James, is no longer the crown jewel of Michigan State's recruiting class, and it remains possible he doesn't play college basketball at all.

The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2022 announced Friday that he is decommitting from the Spartans and reopening his recruitment, mentioning that both college and professional basketball remain options for him.

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Bates' mention of his pro prospects is significant, as it has long been speculated that the Michigan native could bypass the college system for a direct path to the pros. That could be through the NBA finally lowering its age limit for the draft (previously said to be in place until at least 2022) or the new G League path.

After Bates' announcement, numerous reporters speculated that the pro route remains the likely outcome for him. That's not a surprise given that there was skepticism Bates would play in college even when he verbally committed to Michigan State in June 2020.

That speculation likely won't stop teams from at least checking in on Bates' interest levels after reopening his recruitment, but it's been clear for a while that college basketball has more use for Bates than Bates has for college basketball.

Emoni Bates may be the best NBA prospect since LeBron James

YPSILANTI, MI - DECEMBER 09:  Ypsilanti Lincoln Railsplitter sophomore Emoni Bates in action against the River Rouge Panthers during the Ypsi Tip Off Classic on December 9, 2019 at the Eastern Michigan Convocation University Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Emoni Bates to the NBA? It's quite possible. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The words "generational prospect" can be thrown around a lot in the world of recruiting, but make no mistake, Bates is a generational prospect.

There are numerous ways to make that argument. There's the fact that he won the Gatorade Player of the Year award as a sophomore, beating out the players like Cade Cunningham. There was Rivals recruiting analyst Eric Bossi saying he's the best freshman he's ever seen and one of the best prospects ever. There are even some people who say he's the best prospect since LeBron James.

Bates is a 6-foot-9 small forward with a 7-foot wingspan, explosive athleticism and a 3-point shot that my already be NBA ready. That will play just about anywhere,

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