Big Week For Yancy Gates

Yancy Gates has two games under his belt this season. His biggest test comes Friday against a school he's familiar with. Gates' high school coach spent time reflecting on his standout player with

When you're as big and as talented as Cincinnati Withrow junior Yancy Gates, expectations come with the territory. At 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds,'s No. 12 prospect in the Class of 2008 has a set of expectations built into him the moment he laces up the sneakers.

Gates, who transferred in from Hughes, had 26 points in his first game. His second outing, against powerful Moeller, Gates was held in check with 7 points and 5 rebounds.

"In all honestly he's doing just fine," Withrow coach Walt McBride said. "It's just getting the other guys developed (we need to work on). We played Moeller our second game and they had a guy in front of him, on the side and one behind. We couldn't knock down a shot and that couldn't make them play him honest.

"Yancy's doing just fine. Yancy's going to be Yancy. He can dominate a game when he wants to."

"When he wants too …," the phrase has followed Yancy throughout his high school career. An immensely talented player blessed with great size and the ability to be powerful inside, Gates has had his share of moments. Has he been consistent with his great outings? Certainly not. However, that's not to say he won't eventually.

"There's a lot of people that are trying to criticize him and say he doesn't work hard," McBride said. "My friend Kannard Johnson (Taft High, Western Kentucky, NBA) was the biggest thing in Cincinnati. He could score when he wanted to and it was basically effortless.

"(Yancy) knows when he wants to turn it on and he will when he can. There's not much of a (consistent) challenge and he has to develop the work ethic. That's what everyone wants to see. There's other aspects of the game and people tend to say that he's lazy.

"You're only as good as your surrounding and if your teammates aren't up to par we tend to look at Yancy. He could be in great position on the block but we may not have the players to get him the ball. He's not going to blow the doors down scoring at will because teams are going to double and triple him. I want to have him keep his composure."

McBride acknowledges that the next step, and maybe the single-most important step, in Gates' development hinges on becoming a leader.

"We're trying to put him in a role of being a leader and that's something he's never had to do. At Hughes he would have been easier to be a leader but he's at a new school, new environment and it's harder."

On Friday night, McBride will ask Gates to lead Withrow against a familiar foe. Gates will square off against his old high school, Hughes.

"Everybody's trying to figure out what motivates him and gets him going. It's going to be interesting this Friday because we play against his old school."

While there are sure to be a handful of colleges in attendance, Wake Forest's Skip Prosser came in on Monday to do some homework in advance. Cincinnati, Michigan, Ohio State, Louisville, Xavier and Pittsburgh are just a handful of the programs that have been through to check him out.

Speaking of Ohio State, the Buckeyes are getting short on scholarships. Still, McBride thinks his player will wait until next year to decide. "You never know who is going to be around after a year or two," McBride said of OSU.

"I don't think its going to happen until next August for the early signing period. I think he'll narrow it down in the summer."

For now, Gates has a lot on his plate. He meets his old crew later this week and that should be captivating. McBride says it's going to be a process for his young big man to achieve his potential.

"My thing is what have you learned? Are you doing things to make you better for the next level? That's what he's got to learn and help make his teammates better."

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