The Cleveland Charge snapped a two-game skid behind an explosive night from Emoni Bates. The rookie forward poured in 38 points on 8-15 three-point shooting to down Santa Cruz.
“I was blown away and just laughing at a number of shots that he made,” said Charge head coach Mike Gerrity. “There’s a lot of times I laugh on the sidelines when I see him do things.”
Bates is no stranger to scoring in bunches. Over his last four games, Bates is shooting a combined 22-44 (50%) from deep. Microwave scoring is Emoni’s forte and this sequence of three straight triples is par for the course.
Emoni Bates's three straight-made threes in the middle of the third were absolutely ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/CzyMVn6Q57— Jackson Flickinger (@Akron_Jackson) January 7, 2024
Yet, in the wake of a career-high night, Bates chose to focus the discussion on his defense. When asked about which aspect of his development he feels most proud of, Bates answered with his effort on the defensive end of the floor.
“Defense and just being more aware,” said Bates. “Some nights, the shots aren’t going to fall. So how can I still impact the game?”
Blossoming into a complete player is the challenge for Bates. There is no question about his ability to shoot the ball — it’s the rest of his game that needs polishing. Through the first stretch of his rookie season, Bates has responded with consistent growth.
“I thought this was his best defensive performance that he’s had. So it’s all encouraging stuff,” said Gerrity.
Bates also grabbed 6 rebounds and dished 4 assists in Cleveland’s victory. He weaponized his gravity in the second half to draw in the defense and swing to open teammates.
“I think that shows his maturity,” Gerrity said. “Instead of trying to get another shot, now he’s just making the right play and giving his teammates an opening.”
Anticipation for the 19-year-old rookie will continue to build so long as he keeps flashing the potential he has.
The Charge are now 2-2 in regular season play and face the Indiana Mad Ants on Wednesday.