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Helmer: "Don't see a scenario" where Emoni Bates returns to EMU after disappointing season

NCAA BASKETBALL: DEC 30 Eastern Michigan at South Carolina
Eastern Michigan Athletics
Emoni Bates of Eastern Michigan dribbles against South Carolina in non-conference basketball action at the Colonial Life Arena on Friday, December 30, 2022 in Columbia, South Carolina.

After high hopes and national attention before the season began, Washtenaw County will not have any teams representing at the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Eastern Michigan made national headlines when they added former national high school player of the year Emoni Bates to their roster. The 19-year-old Ypsilanti native was the highest scoring sophomore in the country with more than 19 points per game.

Despite high expectations, Eastern finished 8-23 and failed to qualify for the conference tournament.

EMU play by play voice Tom Helmer says the team success wasn’t there, but Bates showed that he has enough talent to play at the next level.

“I don’t see any scenario where he comes back to Eastern Michigan to play another year. I’m sure he’s gone to the NBA or G-League, but I don’t see him coming back, and I think both sides understood that when this process started.”

Down the road in Ann Arbor, the Michigan lost to Rutgers in their opening game of the Big Ten tournament. With a 17-15 record, Juwan Howard and the Wolverines will miss out on March Madness for the first time since 2015.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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