Emoni Bates of Michigan was named Gatorade’s national player of the year in high school basketball on Tuesday, becoming the first sophomore to win the award.
Bates beat out Evan Mobley of California and Cade Cunningham of Texas, the top-ranked seniors in the country.
Bates could potentially be selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
The 6-foot-9 guard averaged 32 points this year. His chance to help Ypsilanti Lincoln High School repeat as state champions was cut short during the playoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gatorade has recognized the nation’s best high school basketball player since 1986, when J.R. Reid won the award; he went on to star at North Carolina and play in the NBA.
Former winners such as LeBron James have combined to win five NBA MVP awards, make 69 All-Star Game appearances and become first-round draft picks 26 times.
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