Mom: Teen Hoops Star Has On-Court 'Alter Ego'

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  • Published on:  11/11/2017
  • (6 Nov 2017) HE'S ONE OF THE NATION'S TOP EIGHTH-GRADE BASKETBALL PROSPECTS, BUT AT HOME ...
    SOUNDBITE: (English) Edith Bates, Emoni's Mother:
    "Emoni Bates is just my son to me."
    HE'S A SOFT-SPOKEN 13-YEAR-OLD WHO LIKES TO SPEND TIME WITH HIS FAMILY.
    TO OTHERS, HE'S A TOUGH-MINDED, AGGRESSIVE PLAYER UNAFRAID TO TANGLE WITH AN OPPONENT.
    SOUNDBITE: (English) Edith Bates, Emoni's Mother:
    "It's his alter ego when he's on the court."
    THAT ALTER EGO WAS ON FULL DISPLAY DURING A RECENT GAME ...
    WHEN EMONI'S (uh-MON'-eez) TEAM OF TALENTED MIDDLE SCHOOLERS, LOOKING FOR BETTER COMPETITION, WENT UP AGAINST HIGH-SCHOOL PLAYERS …
    GETTING INTO AN ALTERCATION WITH AN OPPONENT EMONI SAYS DISRESPECTED HIM.
    SOUNDBITE: (English) Emoni Bates, Star Basketball Player:
    ++partially covered with b-roll++
    "During the game, he kept messing with me, talking to me. I was controlling it at first, and then he had said something to me again, so that led to me pushing him. So, that's what happened. I'm not the type of person to lay back when people are talking to me disrespectfully."
    EDITH BATES IS URGING PATIENCE AMONG THOSE KEEPING AN EYE ON HER SON.
    SOUNDBITE: (English) Edith Bates, Emoni's Mother:
    ++partially covered with b-roll++
    "I feel like he has the world on his shoulders, and he's handling it very well. But I want them to see him as an adolescent who is growing and developing."
    BEING THE CENTER OF ATTENTION IS NOTHING NEW FOR EMONI …
    WHO ALREADY HAS DRAWN INTEREST FROM A NUMBER OF COLLEGE PROGRAMS, INCLUDING DEPAUL, WHICH OFFERED HIM A SCHOLARSHIP.
    SOUNDBITE: (English) Emoni Bates, Star Basketball Player:
    "I was excited, because it was my first offer, but there's plenty more to come."
    BEFORE HE CAN EVEN THINK ABOUT COLLEGE, THOUGH, EMONI NEEDS TO PICK A HIGH SCHOOL. JESSE DAVIS, COACH OF NEARBY LINCOLN HIGH AND A LONGTIME FAMILY FRIEND, SAYS EMONI COULD GO PRETTY MUCH ANYWHERE HE WANTS.
    SOUNDBITE: (English) Jesse Davis, Family Friend:
    ++partially covered with b-roll++
    "He's 6-7, long wingspan, can shoot the ball, dribble it. I mean, it's just expected. He's a great basketball player at his age right now. … Any coach in the country would want him to play for him."
    REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEIR SON GOES TO SCHOOL NEXT YEAR, BATES SAYS SHE AND HER HUSBAND, E.J., WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TO KEEP EMONI HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
    SOUNDBITE: (English) Edith Bates, Emoni's Mother:
    ++fully covered with b-roll++
    "I know sometimes basketball tends to pull him away, but I always pull him back in. And that's his reality check. That's how we handle that _ keeping him grounded at home, helping him to make the best decisions dealing with the outside."
    ONE OF THE WAYS EMONI AVOIDS DISTRACTIONS IS BY FOCUSING ON IMPROVING HIS GAME AND HIS BODY.
    AND NOT CARRYING THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD ON HIS SHOULDERS.
    MIKE HOUSEHOLDER, ASSOCIATED PRESS, YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN.


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