The 6-8 Gates is part of a star-studded Cleveland Basketball Club 15-and-under team that includes five of the state's top seven freshman prospects, according to Ohio High magazine. That team was 3-0 in pool play at the All-Ohio Nike Cup Saturday at The Hoop in Columbus.
Gates will be listed as Ohio High's top sophomore-to-be in the May issue. He is joined on this team by Canal Winchester World Harvest Prep 6-10 center B.J. Mullens (No. 2) as well as Cincinnati Withrow 6-1 shooting guard Anthony McBride (No. 4), Columbus Northland 6-2 guard Devon Moore (No. 5) and Cleveland Rhodes 6-5 wing forward Rayshawn Goins (No. 7). Mullens has already been offered by OSU and verbaled to the Buckeyes.
There is already talk that Mullens could be joined in the OSU Class of 2008 by one or more players from this team as a package deal. By all accounts, these players are fast friends and enjoy traveling and playing together on the AAU circuit.
Here are observations and an update on the rest of these talented prospects:
* Mullens -- Mullens (left, black jersey) committed to Ohio State Nov. 3, a full month before making his varsity debut at World Harvest Prep. He helped lead that team to a 16-3 mark and a piece of the Mid-State League Cardinal Division title. He averaged 11.3 points per game and earned second-team All-Central District honors in Division IV.
"I was happy about the season," Mullens said. "Most of our team was freshmen and we on the Mid-State League championship. We were all freshmen, so it should only get better from here."
Mullens discussed his plans for the spring and summer.
"I'm just working out with my team, getting in the gym and hitting the weights," he said. "I'll be going to basketball camps and working on getting better."
OSU coach Thad Matta discovered Mullens at the adidas Camp in Georgia last summer. Mullens plans to attend that event again and has also been invited to the elite NBA players association camp.
In regards to his college choice, Mullens said he would not change a thing.
"Oh, yeah, I'm pretty happy about it," he said. "I knew that's what I wanted to do. It was a promise to my stepdad before he passed away that I would play at Ohio State. I'm sticking with that and I'm happy about that.
"I talk to the coaches sometimes and go up there and visit."
Mullens was in the house when the Buckeyes upset then-No. 1 Illinois in early March.
"I went to four or five games up there, including the Illinois game," Mullens said. "That was neat. Hopefully, when I get there we can win a championship and celebrate like that."
Mullens came up big for his CBC team as a scorer inside and also as a shot blocker on the defensive end.
* McBride -- McBride was a role player on Withrow's 19-4 team this season. He averaged 6.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
McBride listed N.C. State, Florida State, Cincinnati, Xavier, Illinois, Connecticut, Syracuse and Ohio State among his early favorites. He has not been offered to date.
"I remember Coach Matta from his time at Xavier," he said.
McBride showed good ballhandling skills at the All-Ohio Nike Cup. He and Gates live together with the same father. It is possible that one of them will transfer so they can play together at the same school next year.
* Moore -- Moore displayed a strong outside shooting touch at the All-Ohio Nike Cup. He was also the key ballhandler down the stretch in the team's third win after McBride left the game with an injury.
* Goins -- Goins is a bulky small forward candidate who is adept at distributing, shooting the three and also going inside as needed.
"My favorite colleges would be Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Ohio State," Goins said.
When asked if any of those schools have offered, Goins said, "Not that I know of. My high school coach said it's too early. He hangs on to all the letters."
An indication of what OSU thinks of Goins: He had tickets for the win over Illinois.
"I went to Ohio State when they played Illinois and they won that game," Goins said. "That was a good game to go to."
Look for one more article on players who participated in this weekend's AAU tournament at The Hoop.
Nate Miles (with basketball)