Why 15-year-old Emoni Bates is basketball's next phenomenon

Emoni Bates' uncommon degree of polish, relative to his age, has scouts salivating. Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports

This summer's biggest storyline from the basketball recruiting world -- aside from the outrage about LeBron James taking part in layup lines -- is a 15-year-old from Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Emoni Bates is not just the No. 1 prospect in the 2022 class -- he's the best prospect in high school basketball right now, and he has been anointed as a legitimate generational prospect.

If this sounds like hyperbole, try this: "He has a chance to be ahead of LeBron. I've never seen a better freshman," one scout said. More on that later. For now, Bates is the heavy favorite to be the No. 1 pick in whichever NBA draft he's eligible to enter, and with the one-and-done rule potentially changing, it's unlikely he will ever play in college.

So, who is Bates, how did he get here, and how good is he, really?