Emoni Bates’ Consistent Dominance Highlights Thanksgiving Hoopfest Takeaways

Jason Jordan

From consistent dominance to emerging stars there were plenty of takeaways from the Thanksgiving Hoopfest this past weekend at American Airlines Arena.

Here are just a few things that we learned from watching the action.

Consistency is Emoni Bates’ Greatest Trait

By now you know that Emoni Bates is special. 

He donned the cover of Sports Illustrated at 15, he’s been called the greatest high school prospect since LeBron James, etc., all these appointments and accolades make it easy to take his consistent dominance for granted; contrarily it’s the most impressive aspect of his makeup. 

Every time Bates steps onto the floor an opposing player takes on the challenge of stopping the “next big thing.” 

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It’s important to note that Bates, a Michigan State commit, doesn’t wear the normal bull’s-eye most elite players wear, his is substantially bigger, yet every game, without fail, he exceeds expectations. He kept with that theme Saturday, dropping 28 points in Ypsi (Mich.) Prep’s 79-65 loss to Duncanville (Texas). 

Dominating is one thing but dominating to the point where you exceed unfair expectations when there’s a specific plan designed to stop you speaks to a player’s mentality. It’s what will make Bates live up to the hype at the next level and beyond.

Ron Holland
Ron Holland was all over the place in Duncanville's win. (Photo: THF)

Ron Holland Made His Case for the Top Tier of the 2023 Class

The pandemic sidelining spring and summer play left a lot of questions about where underclassmen fall in the pecking order of their classes. Holland was aware of the magnitude of the opportunity in front of him and seized it like a champ. 

The 6-foot-7 wing showed the full repertoire of his skill set pumping in 18 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in Duncanville’s 79-65 win over Bates and Ypsi Prep. 

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Holland’s length was devastating for the Ypsi players on both ends of the floor and his unrelenting motor made him unstoppable down the stretch. Holland put the 2023 class on notice, and with consistency his ascension seems inevitable.

Damon Nicholas is Underrated

In Duncanville’s win over Ypsi, Bates and Holland stole the show, but Nicholas more than made his presence felt all night. 

From steals to blocking shots to running the offense to rebounding virtually everything in his vicinity, Nicholas, a Sam Houston State commit, was the X factor in the Panthers win. 

Nicholas is the perfect utility player, a necessary glue-guy who serves as a jack-of-all trades and can affect the game in multiple ways. He ended up with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the win. The Bearkats scored big with Nicholas.

Manny Obaseki is Hard to Guard

Obaseki showed the full repertoire of his offensive arsenal in John Paul II’s (Plano, Texas) 61-56 win over Lancaster (Texas). 

Obaseki, a Texas A&M commit, kept pressure on the Lancaster guards, aggressively attacking them with crafty ball handling and elusive spin-moves to get into the paint. 

As usual, he was adept at maneuvering around shot blockers to finish at the rim and showed off his trademark athleticism as well. 

Obaseki is the ultimate competitor and should thrive in Buzz Williams’ system next season.