Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's Banners on the Parkway postseason player report cards. We'll be breaking down each player's grades for the rest of this week and on into next week, where we'll reveal the top finisher according to the community. We'll also be assigning and explaining our own grades of each player. We'll start with the player who got the lowest community ranking and work our way up to the MVP. Visit our 2016: Season in Review page for every player breakdown.
|Kaiser Gates||Votes||% of votes|
|Community GPA: 2.77|
Kaiser Gates played a grand total of 57 minutes before Xavier's disastrous start to Big East play. When Xavier fans talk about next season, the frizzy haired rising Sophomore is one of the names that routinely is thrown out as a potential game changing talent, but for the non-conference part of this season he was barely an afterthought. Gates showed incredible confidence in his abilities and a rugged work ethic as he simply kept making the most of his chances right up until he was putting the foot on the gas in the early going for the Muskies in their NCAA Tournament win over Weber State. Gates my have some holes in his game (which we will discuss), but when you look at how far the kid came this year, it is hard not to see stardom in his future.
Tempting to give him a B, but he was a very hot and cold player scoring-wise, but didn't have the skill set to be productive without scoring. He did a good job on the boards but basically never got assists, which meant that when he wasn't hitting from outside, there were better options. His best game came in the season finale against Creighton when he showed his immense ceiling with 11 and 8 in just 15 minutes of play. Coach Mach seemed to really trust Gates once conference play began, often touting him as the second best shooter on the team, and as Gates grew into his role, it became clear where he was and was not most comfortable (not:the free throw line). Gates can still use some work with his back to the basket and in finding passing lanes, but the signs are definitely there that he can and will become a matchup nightmare for Xavier's opponents in the future.
One pleasant surprise about Gates this season for most of us was the fact that he is a skilled on ball defender. With explosive lateral quickness for a player his size, Gates guarded anyone from point guards to power forwards this year and did well in most every situation. He struggled with fouling at times, committing 6.6 per 40 minutes, but his skill set is once again plain to see if not fully honed at this level yet. One area where he struggled was when called on to rebound from the wing in Xavier's 1-3-1. Gates at 6'8" should be a major asset on the boards, but at times it looked like his newness to the system led to hesitation, which always leads to unchecked guards coming in and snatching rebounds from a waiting big man and, likely, some harsh words from said big man. While man to man was his forte, Gates was somewhat of a work in progress in the 1-3-1, although his quickness did make him more of an asset in the center of the zone than he was on the wing.
We don't do pluses and minuses here at Banners (except for when we do), so I am sticking with the community here because I am desperate to be liked, unlike Joel who has chosen death by Providence fan as his way to leave this mortal coil. Anyway, Gates is going to be a major player for Xavier next season, and hopefully a couple more after that. His quickness combined with his size and shooting ability make him the kind of guy that just about no one can guard on his night, and the fact that he is plus defender on the ball make him seem like the dude that everybody in the Big East is going to dread the existence of in a couple of seasons. The sky is the limit for this guy, especially when you consider the strides he has already made since November.