Ypsilanti — Eastern Michigan University basketball player Emoni James Wayne Bates, a top basketball dealer, is facing firearms charges after he was arrested during a Sunday night traffic stop in Washtenaw County.
Bates, 18, faces two criminal charges in Washtenaw County 14A-1 District Court, according to online court records.
One charge for carrying a concealed weapon. The other is to change the identification marks on a weapon or firearm. Both were ordered by the Washtenaw County Police Department.
University Athletics Director Scott Weatherby said in a statement Monday that Bates has been suspended from “practices and playing privileges” at Emu.
“We are aware of a situation regarding student men’s basketball, Emonie Bates,” the statement read. “Eastern Michigan University takes all allegations of this nature seriously. In accordance with department policy, he is automatically suspended from practice and playing privileges until the legal process is resolved. As this is an ongoing legal issue, the University will have no further comment at this time.”
Sheriffs pulled a car in Superior Township at 10:43pm on Sunday after the driver failed to stop at the Nottingham and Clark intersection, Department of Community Engagement Director Derek Jackson said Monday when asked about Bates’ arrest.
“During the investigation, a firearm was found and the 18-year-old driver was arrested,” Jackson said in a statement.
His attorney Stephen Haney said Monday that Bates, a Ypsilanti native, was driving someone else’s car on Sunday when he was stopped.
“That’s why I hope people will let him presume innocence and retain judgment when the facts become known,” Hani said. “This wasn’t his car, first of all.”
Hani said Bates cooperated during the traffic stop and arrest.
Hani said he does not know who owns the gun or the car. He is awaiting discovery materials from the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office.
“It’s still early in the process,” Hani said. “Like any other citizen, he is entitled to a presumption of innocence.”
Haney gave an admission of innocence on Bates’ behalf during his Monday afternoon trial, which lasted about six minutes.
“Mr. Bates, Emoni, was a lifelong resident of the community,” Haney said during the court hearing. “He is currently a full-time student at Eastern Michigan University. This is his first brush with law. He has absolutely no prior criminal history.”
Judge Elisha Fink authorized Bates’ release from Washtenaw County Jail on a personal pledge. She said the gun charges are “inherently dangerous” but Bates is a good candidate for a personal bond that doesn’t require him to pay a prison leave fee.
Bates is scheduled to return to court on October 6 for a conference for possible reasons.
Bates’ father and coach at Ypsi Prep Academy, EJ Bates, did not immediately respond to a phone call from The News seeking comment.
EMU Sports Department officials learned of the arrest before 8 a.m. Monday, Wetherby and EMU President James M. Smith shortly after noon. Wetherbee had no further comment when meeting with The Detroit News on campus on Monday.
The men’s basketball team was training shortly on Monday afternoon, while Bates was being released from prison.
Bates committed to playing in the EMU for next season in late August. He used one season of college eligibility in Memphis.
“I love my city,” Bates said in a statement in August. “And coming home to do something special has been great for me. I have known so many players on the team from playing together and competing. Having a strong relationship and a strong relationship with my teammates and coaching staff has been important to me. You have been working hard over the years, especially This summer, against great competition to keep improving.”
Wetherby said EMU basketball has nearly doubled its ticket sales compared to last year, and much of that rise is due to Bates’ commitment.
At Ypsi Prep Academy, Bates averaged 24.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. He began his prep career at Ypsilanti Lincoln, and led the team to the state title as a freshman. He was Gatorade’s National Player of the Year in 2020, averaging 32.4 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
In one game, he scored 63 points and grabbed 21 rebounds. In 2019, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, titled Born For This, with the tagline “Magic, Michael, LeBron…And the 15-Year Who’s Next in Line.”
In high school, he originally committed to Michigan State University before he changed his mind. He chose to play in Memphis rather than jump into the NBA’s G League. Reclassified from category 2022 to 2021.
At Memphis, Bates suffered back injuries, which limited his playing time for most of the season prior to the NCAA Championship. He averaged 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds for Memphis. He missed the last nine games of the regular season.