Thursday, March 4, 2010

What happened to Yancy Gates?

As we head to the finish line of a disappointing end of the season, I thought it would be prudent to look at one of the most disappointing things of the season: Yancy Gates' lack of defensive rebounding. I'm not going to highlight every disappointing thing that has been the Bearcats season, because that might take too long. But the Gates defensive rebounding issue has been called out by Dan Hoard, UC beat writers, twitter, Facebook, and myself. I decided to go so far deep into the numbers, that by the end of this, you are going to need a flashlight, a map, and a prayer to find your way out.

Let's hit it where it hurts,Yancy averages 6.034 rebounds, down from 6.094 last season. Out of those 6.034, 2.517 are offensive, and 3.517 defensive. That's actually up from 3.2 last season. Let's highlight the positive bits. Gates has had 5 games with double digit rebounds, up from 2 last year. He's had 1 game with double digit defensive rebounds, against Pittsburgh, and a game of 9 against Maryland. The big man has had 5 games, not counting Lipscomb where he played 4 minutes, where he's had 0 defensive rebounds. Last season, he had 1. In his 7 games with 1 defensive rebound or less, he's only grabbed 19 rebounds .Last season, despite a lower rate, when Gates wouldn't defensive rebound much, he would at least hit the offensive glass harder. In the 1 d board or less, he had 4 games with 13 rebounds. Gates has had 10 games of over 5 defensive boards, as opposed to 9 last season.

In the past 7 games, Gates has grabbed 6 defensive rebounds. In the 0 rebound games, he's been out rebounded defensively by Deonta Vaughn, Cashmere Wright, Jaquan Parker, Dion Dixon, Larry Davis and your grandma. It's baffling seeing a 6'9 man who dominated at the high school level to the point where he was a Rivals 5 star recruit not try harder on the glass. Maybe high school ruined his rebounding effort. Maybe it was too easy for him to grab rebounds then, and he has packed it in. He plays down on the box, yet he is not one of the ones who swarms to the ball. Lance Stephenson lately has swarmed to the ball. Ibrahima Thomas swarms. Rashad Bishop swarms. In fact, there are 5 Bearcats averaging at least 3 defensive rebounds per game. They are Gates at 3.517, Stephenson 3.5, Thomas 3.2, Vaughn 3.1, Bishop 3. Let's conference stats that up. Pretend that made sense. In conference play Ibrahima Thomas averages 3.7, Stephenson 3.43, and Gates 3.41.

What this all boils down to is simple. Defense rebounding is all about wanting the ball. Yancy Gates has wanted the ball in some games, Maryland, Pitt, Notre Dame, Prairie View, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, St John's and Depaul. In other games, he looks like he doesn't give a shit, West Virginia (0 TOTAL rebounds), South Florida, UConn the first time, South Florida again, Toledo, Miami, UConn the second time, Marquette. Sure he scored in some of those games, like Marquette, and Toledo, but basketball is more than just offense. Yancy Gates can score 10 points in his sleep, and to make that joke for you, he already does. Rebounding is something where you actually have to try, and Gates seems to be nonchalant every other game. The thing is, we know he can be a monster. Watch the Maui Invitational. Gates dominated that event. Maryland and Vanderbilt are 2 top notch teams, and Yancy Gates bulldozed them. They didn't stand a chance when he was in the game. He put up double doubles in 29 and 25 minutes. 17-13 in 29 minutes against Maryland and 16-10 in 25 minutes against Vandy. I mean that's fucking talent. I don't know about you all, but I was ecstatic that Yancy Gates was owning top 25 teams. When Yancy Gates plays like one of the best big men in the Big East, Cincinnati has a chance against anyone. He disappeared, along with everyone else, against Syracuse, loss. He disappeared against South Florida, loss. Only played one end against WVU, loss. Benched against Marquette, loss. He's incredibly important to the chances of a Cincinnati victory. We need Yancy Gates to be a monster on the blocks. We know he can do it, because we've seen it. We also know that he apparently has no desire to play in the NBA, because despite the tools, no one is going to draft him with the effort he gives. This might sound like, and kinda is, a rip job on Yancy Gates, but I really like him. I think he can do great things, and it's incredibly frustrating watching him not. He should be giving a shit we are playing Villanova on Senior Night from the get go, not just when Antonio Pena elbows him. The fall of Yancy Gates the last 10 games as coincided with the fall of UC the last 10 games. It's sure as hell not a coincidence.

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