The 6-foot-9, 180-pound freshman forward had led the Railsplitters to a 21-4 record and a berth in the Division I state semifinals at the time of his selection. Bates averaged 28.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.8 assists through 25 games. In the regional tournament semifinals, he hit a game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds, and followed that with the game-winning tip-in at the buzzer in the regional championship game. He participated in a USA Basketball Junior National Team training camp in October.
Bates has maintained a 3.10 GPA in the classroom and represents one of the state’s top academic candidates in meeting the Gatorade award’s broad criteria. He will begin his sophomore year of high school this fall.
Bates has volunteered locally as part of an elementary school literacy outreach initiative and as a youth basketball coach. He has also donated his time collecting clothes and shoes to gift to community churches and groups in need.