Memphis transfer Emoni Bates (1) announced his commitment to Eastern Michigan on Wednesday.

Ypsilanti’s Emoni Bates transferring to EMU, reunites with several friends

In his first year as head coach at Eastern Michigan, Stan Heath spent countless hours bringing the stars of yesteryear — Hurons and Eagles — back to campus. Heath believes that helps build a winning culture.

Now, Heath is bringing back the closest thing Ypsilanti has to a modern-day folk hero, and one he surely hopes will provide the kick-start toward building a winning program.

Emoni Bates, a Ypsilanti native and former No. 1 high-school prospect in the country, announced Wednesday his commitment to Eastern Michigan in a post on his Instagram page. The announcement was accompanied by a video that included highlights from his college, high school and even youth driveway days, wearing an Eastern Michigan jersey, under the headline, “I’M BACK.”

“People probably look at me crazy because I’m considering Eastern,” Bates told recruiting website in a May interview. “But if I went there, I would be like the neighborhood hero. I used to play at Eastern during my high school games when I was at Lincoln, and we used to pack it out every time. That would be crazy for me to be able to bring love to the city.”

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