Led by star player Emoni Bates, Michigan’s new basketball academy will play Bronny James’ team

DETROIT – If Ypsilanti Prep Academy is anything, it’s unique — at least to Michigan.  

While the name suggests a school, Ypsi Prep is a basketball training house for top teenagers, playing against the best high school teams in the country.

Instead of switching classes several times a day and sweating prom dates, these young men finish their core courses one at a time through a first-of-its-kind program, and spend the rest of their time preparing to play at the next level.

It opened this year but has already played on national television and was nationally ranked by Max Preps, primarily because of Emoni Bates, its star player and son of its founder, Elgin Bates.  

Emoni Bates, a hoops prodigy and five-star Michigan State basketball commit, is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft whenever he is eligible. (Current NBA rules require draftees to wait a year after high school graduation, but that could change as early as 2022.) For now, he and about a dozen other teenagers, seven of them Division I prospects, comprise a roster that has played in Michigan, Texas and Ohio against some of the top-ranked players in the country.  

No. 1-ranked senior Chet Holmgren and several of his Minnesota high school state champion teammates beat Ypsi in Ann Arbor on Nov. 12 in the academy's first game. Then Duncanville (Texas), which has one of the nation's best sophomores, Ronald Holland, topped Ypsi on Nov. 28 in Texas. Ypsi has since beaten Ohio's ISA and Texas' Legacy School of Sport Sciences, each of which feature multiple Division I prospects.

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