Too Quick a Decision

Kent State basketball star Antonio Gates joined the San Diego Chargers just after the draft in what became a bidding war between the Bolts and the Cleveland Browns. Now some whispers are coming out concerning his decision to leave his basketball career behind

He has not played football since high school and enrolled at Michigan State in 1998 to play linebacker. After one semester the Detroit native transferred to Eastern Michigan, where he played basketball for one season before leaving for Kent State. Gates paved the way for Kent State to make it to the Elite Eight in 2002.

Antonio Gates averaged 20.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Golden Flashes. Gates was listed at 6-5 and 250 pounds at Kent State, but was measured at 6-4 at the Portsmouth Invitational.

Some basketball insiders are whispering that Gates panicked after attending the invitational prospects camp, where he was 2-7, for four points adding four rebounds in two contests. In that second game he only played six minuted but still the word is he gave up too soon on his pro ambitions.

Gates signed his football contract with San Diego Chargers, shortly after a so-so performance at the Virginia Portsmouth Invitational.

With hard work and patience, suggest the insiders, Gates could have made an NBA team and become a productive (and well-paid) role player.

Instead Gates will make $130,000 per season in a two-year deal, with a $100,000 roster bonus.

Gates is slated to play tight end, and his athleticism and hands figure to give opponents fits. Still he must work on the fundamentals of the pro game and concentrate his efforts on blocking.

Gates likely has to unseat one of the three tight ends currently on the roster, and the battle could be fierce, but that is a story for another day.

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