Emoni Bates, former five-star basketball recruit, pleads not guilty to gun charges

DETROIT – Former five-star basketball recruit Emoni Bates waived his rights to a preliminary examination during a probable cause hearing on Thursday afternoon in a Washtenaw County court.

Bates was bound over to circuit court on two felony gun charges as his attorney, Steve Haney, entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

Haney's request for Bates' pre-trial court date to be expedited was denied, though 14A District Court Judge Cedric Simpson said that wasn't possible at the moment.

"I can't do an expedited," Simpson responded. "I can only give you a date and then you contact the court to get the date moved up if you'd like."

Bates' next appearance was set for Nov. 16.

WINDSOR:Emoni Bates isn't a cautionary tale yet. But his journey (so far) is a lesson to us all

Bates, who appeared in court via Zoom on Thursday afternoon, was pulled over by the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office on Sept. 18 when an officer saw Bates failed to stop at the intersection of Nottingham and Clark Road in Superior Township.

Police told the Free Press upon further investigation a firearm was found and Bates, 18, was taken into custody.

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's office confirmed to the Free Press that Bates was charged with two gun-related felonies: possession of a concealed weapon and altering the identification marks on a firearm. During Thursday's hearing, Steve Haney, asked the court to waive a formal reading of the charges.

After Bates' September court appearance, Haney told the Free Press that Bates was borrowing a friend's car at the time of the arrest. The Free Press has filed a Freedom of Information Act on Sept. 19 for more information on the traffic stop, which the Washtenaw County Sheriff's office responded to on Sept. 27 by filing a 10-day extension.

Ypsi Prep Academy junior forward Emoni Bates works on shooting after practice at Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth, Texas on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.
Ypsi Prep Academy junior forward Emoni Bates works on shooting after practice at Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth, Texas on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

Per Eastern Michigan athletic department policy, Bates has been suspended from all playing and practice privileges until the matter is resolved.

"We are aware of a situation involving men's basketball student-athlete Emoni Bates," EMU athletics said in a statement last month. "Eastern Michigan University takes all allegations of this nature very seriously.

"Because this is an on-going legal matter, the University will have no further comment at this time."

EMU is scheduled to host Grand Valley State in an exhibition game on Oct. 27 before the regular season opener against Wayne State on Nov. 7.

Prior to his arrest, Bates was expected to be EMU's star player. Bates was a standout in high school for three years, first at Ypsilanti Lincoln where he led the Railsplitters to the program's first state championship as a freshman in 2019.

He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2019 with a headline reading: "Magic, Michael, LeBron ... Emoni Bates? Meet the 15-Year-Old Next in Line."

After originally committing to Michigan State, the 6-foot-9, 190-pound wing reclassified out of high school a year early and enrolled at Memphis, where he struggled in his freshman season. Bates averaged 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds on 38.6% shooting in 18 games.

Bates is the first former five-star athlete to be on a Mid-American Conference roster, according to the school.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Emoni Bates, former star recruit, pleads not guilty to gun charges