To be honest with you, I rarely watch the NBA. It ranks right up there with soccer as far as sports I could give two-shits about. Even when I moved to Chicago, the rich NBA history of this city couldn’t draw my interest. Derrick Rose is the man but I could care less about the goings on with the Bulls or pro basketball in general.
That being said, I will probably pay somewhat closer attention to the NBA next season. At the very least I will watch the NBA Draft which begins at 8 pm on June 28th for the first time ever. Why? Well there’s a strong possibility that Cincinnati Bearcat Yancy Gates will be selected. The four-year starter at UC is finishing up a solid career in Clifton in which he averaged 11.2 pts, 6.9 rebs, and 1 block per game. The guy was a rock on the the Cincinnati defense who will be sorely missed next season.
Yancy Gates was an anomaly while with the Bearcats. You never could get a bead on the kid and most people either loved him or hated him. I think it ultimately boils down to the amount of pressure the fanbase put on him over those years. Depending upon who you talk to he is either the antithesis of success or failure. Whether it’s justified or not, Gates’ legacy at Cincinnati will be tainted by frustration from fans who put lofty expectations on a guy that was one of the tent poles for rebuilding this program.
However I think UC fans, those who loved and hated Gates alike, will be interested to at least learn where he will wind up at the next level, be it an NBA roster or somewhere in Europe. And when push comes to shove I think a good majority will root for Yancy on his next team. Again despite getting booed for a good portion of his college career. Let’s review the resume:
There is no questioning Yancy Gates’ size. The man controls the paint without having to move a muscle. He’s just that large but not necessarily fat. Gates is a powerful post player who shields the ball well which allows him to grab a ton of rebounds. The Cincy bigman was fifth in the Big East in rebounds at nearly 9 per game. That will surely be appealing to NBA teams who will look to gain an edge inside. Gates’ two attributes of good size and solid rebounding builds up to the fact that he plays very good defense. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since he’s been playing the Mick Cronin system that emphasizes shutting down opposing teams. Gates has quieted such players as UConn’s Andre Drummond (4 pts, 6 rebs, 1 block) who could be the second forward taken in the NBA draft and Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng (5 – 10 – 3).
- Work Ethic
It’s been the knock on him since signing with the Bearcats way back in 2007; that he can loaf on the court and take plays off. Let’s be clear, when Yancy is on he’s darn near unstoppable much like how he played near the end of the regular season, though the Big East tournament, and during the first two games of the NCAA’s. But it becomes apparent when he’s not giving 100% and most times the team suffers for it. This can cause Gates to be very inconsistent game-to-game and especially so on offense. In general he will almost never have off nights on defense but he can lose focus on offense. Part of it can be players not finding him the ball but part of it is him not moving around or driving to the basket with his big body when the ball does get in his hands. Instead, Gates would all-too-often settle for difficult 3 – 6 ft shots and fadeaways. It was frustrating and confusing at the same time.
- 2nd Round – Undrafted
- New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers, Europe
Like I said, I don’t watch the NBA so I can’t speak with accuracy which teams need a player like Gates. He has taken visits to the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Portland Trail Blazers so it’s not unfathomable to think these four among others might take a flyer on him. These trips will undoubtedly help Gates’ draft stock. Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Bearcat will forever be synonymous with punching out Xavier’s Kenny Frease last December. What NBA teams will learn once they sit down with him is that he is a misunderstood, good hearted young man who is a valuable team player. If the NBA Draft comes and goes without Gates’ name being called expect him to head overseas.