Gates is ready to help USA take on the world

As Yancy Gates lie in bed relaxing recently, he received a phone call and a text from the Cincinnati coaching staff telling him he had been invited to try out for the Team USA in the World University Games.

Gates leaves on July 29 for Colorado Springs, Colo. He's one of 22 players who were invited to try out for the 12-member team that will compete Aug. 13-23 in Shenzen, China. Finalists for the team will be announced on July 31 with the official roster being announced before the team's departure for China on Aug. 8.

If Gates is selected for the team, he will join Kenyon Martin and Eric Hicks as UC players to make the team. There is no need to remind Gates that Martin had his best season as Bearcat and was named National Player of the Year following his stint on Team USA.

"I remember Kenyon Martin when he played," said Gates "It's a big opportunity for me. I'm excited. It's not the normal competition you will see in a normal summer. This gives me a chance to measure my game and see what I need to work on. I take it as an opportunity to get better."

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin has noticed a change in Gates' mentality in preparation for the try out.

"Yancy really wants to make this team," said Cronin. "That has been his focus since he got the invitation. That has helped drive him all summer, so it's already helped."

One of the greatest benefits to making Team USA will be the month of structured basketball against some top competition. That competition will not only come from other countries but his potential teammates.

Cronin has also done his best to stay in the ear of Purdue head coach Matt Painter, the head coach of Team USA. His main message is Gates' defensive prowess.

"I'm trying to make sure Matt understands he would be more than happy to guard the other team's best player," Cronin said. "The one thing he brings to the table is that he can defend and he's willing to do whatever he's got to do."

While Xavier's Tu Holloway decided to decline the World University Games invite, it never crossed Gates mind.

"The LeBron camp is the same time and I actually declined that to play in this," said Gates. "Once I heard I was invited, I been looking forward to it. It never crossed my mind to decline because it's such a big opportunity that not everybody gets."

Gates understands that he still has to make the team, but he is looking forward to wearing "USA" across his chest.

"That's the whole thing I am excited about," Gates responded. "Not many people get to even wear that type of jersey in college. Even being able to have the opportunity to wear it on your practice jersey is a big deal to me."

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