When it comes to his son, Tony Dees is a parent that feels very strongly about academics. In our conversation it was very clear that cutting corners when it comes to his grades would not be tolerated. Furthermore, if he doesn’t make the grades, he will not play basketball. That was not explicitly stated, but that message rang through loud and clear. Just who is his son? His name is Yancy Gates, a 6-8 225-lb. power forward that is currently ranked the #1 player at his position in the class of 2008. According to Mr. Dees, basketball is giving Yancey a lot of notoriety, but it is academics that will provide him options in life. Based on Yancy's academic success, (he made the honor roll three out of the four card markings last year) he has taken his father's words to heart.
Both gentlemen took the time to chat with GoBlueWolverine about Yancy's recruitment, the importance of academics and the visit to Michigan.
Tony how did you all enjoy the visit last week at U of M?
"I was very impressed with the academic resources that Michigan had for Yancy and the help that is there for him. The help he would get from Michigan is great."
You seem to be very interested in the academic side of Yancy’s recruitment?
"Well as a former player (University of Alabama-Birmingham), I try to get him to understand that basketball opens up a lot of opportunities."
What coach on the staff has been contacting you?
"Coach Andy Moore. We have talked from time to time."
So did you all have a good visit with Coach Tommy Amaker?
"Yes we did Tommy kept it real. Most coaches tell you what you want to hear, but Tommy tells you what it is going to be like. It was good to hear someone else stress academics to Yancy other than myself and Tommy did that. Tommy talked about academics quite often to Yancy while we were there. He just reinforced what I had been saying about academics. Tommy also talked about Yancy getting his degree and what he expected of him. He really didn’t talk to much basketball. I was very impressed with Coach Tommy Amaker."
How did Yancy like his visit to Michigan?
"He has been talking about Michigan since he has been back home. He was very impressed with the visit."
Yancey what did you think of your visit to Michigan?
"It was real nice I learned about the different business majors that they have that I really never thought about."
What are some of your goals for this school year?
"Academically I want to do better in the classroom. In basketball I just want to get better from last year. I would like to rebound better and work on my jumpshot."
Is there anyone that you pattern your game after in college or pro?
"Not really. I do watch Kevin Garnett, I would like to be versatile like he is, be able to post up and go off the dribble."
What did you like about your visit with coach Tommy Amaker?
"We talked a lot. He explains to players what he wants from them. He makes
you responsible for your actions. Coach Amaker seems to be a real good person."