Emoni Bates has been named the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
Bates is the first sophomore to win the award and beat out seniors Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley.
“Emoni Bates is the newest generational talent in the high school game,” ESPN national recruiting director for boys high school basketball Paul Biancardi said in a news release. “As a 6-foot-9 sophomore, he owns a slender frame with terrific length thanks to a 7-1 wingspan. His elite ball skills have a profound influence and impact on the game.
"His ability as a shooter, including his capacity to make contested shots, makes him unique. His gifts off the bounce, his court vision and his fast-developing basketball IQ stand out as well. A key separating trait at this early age is his ‘alpha-dog’ mentality. When his time comes for the NBA draft, we project him as the No. 1 pick.”
Bates averaged 31.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists this season at Lincoln.
Bates has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant and is the projected No. 1 pick in 2022 if the NBA eliminates the age limit.