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Chris Bates isn’t one to back away from a challenge.
It’s why the Hunt High senior opted to take a shot at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association ranks in his final season of varsity eligibility. As a reserve post player for the Warriors, an offer was on the table to join the University of Mount Olive and its junior varsity program in NCAA Division II. However, Bates, true to form, reached for the varsity level and recently pledged to attend St. Andrews University of the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association ranks in a informal signing ceremony in the Hunt auditorium. He also considered attending East Carolina.
“They extended an offer for me to play JV,” Bates said of the Trojans. But what I wanted to do with my life involving basketball, I felt like it was my better choice to go play the varsity level at St. Andrews. Better competition, better players and better atmosphere for those challenging moments.
In 20 games with Hunt, the 6-foot-6 Bates averaged 2.7 points per game and had 1.5 rebounds. In the first season of head coach Dwight Taylor’s return to the program, the Warriors finished 15-10 and reached the second round of the 3-A postseason.
Bates transferred from Wilson Preparatory Academy, where during the Tigers’ first season at the varsity level, he averaged 6.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest as a junior.
However, the Carolina Athletic Association for Schools of Choice was not where he wanted to be.
“It was more willing to see if I could be able to handle the challenges,” Bates said. “Because at prep school, they have very limited — I hate to say this — talent. The talent level is slim at prep school. So I decided to come to public school where there’s talent everywhere — all shapes and sizes. I came in with a chip on my shoulder to prove to myself and to others that I could play among the highest level of public school athletes.”
Bates drew some starts for Hunt to open the season, but conversations with Taylor evolved his role to a contributor off the bench. According to Bates, the Knights see him as a “pick and pop” shooter that can set screens and be a threat 10 to 12 feet from the basket.
The son of Christopher Bates Sr. and Kathryn Bates plans to major in game and art design as well as physical therapy.