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Xavier season in review: Kaiser Gates report card

Xavier’s junior forward was alternately brilliant and frustrating, with more of the latter than the former during Big East play.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Xavier vs Texas Southern
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to everyone who participated in our 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 and maybe the following, just depending on how time allows. 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.

Kaiser Gates Votes % of votes
A 4 1.90%
B 23 11.10%
C 118 57%
D 45 21.70%
F 17 8.20%
Community GPA 2.12

Second on the team in rebounding. Second on the team in 3P% and 3P made. Second on the team in FT%. Second on the team in ORtg. Sixth in EFG%, sixth in scoring. Only Elias Harden averaged fewer TO per game among scholarship players, and one might point out that he did it a ton fewer minutes than Kaiser did. So why did he get the second-lowest grade of anyone in the poll?

Well, like - and I cringe as I make this analogy - Jeff Robinson before him, Kaiser seems to be sitting on a mostly untapped well of potential and productivity. Let’s break it down below.

Offense: B

I know it feels like Kaiser fell off the map in conference play, but he still posted an ORtg of 110.4. That’s better than Naj or Q and right on par with JP’s. He was a miserable 19-64 (29.7%) from beyond the arc in Big East play, but he was 12-18 on two-point shots and led the team by shooting 84.6% from the line. If you see Kaiser as just a three-point shooter, you probably gave him a pretty crappy grade. If you think he adds more to the team’s offensive efforts, you might be one of the 27 people who gave him an A or a B. Looking at his line of 7.2/4.6/0.9, it’s not entirely clear what the appropriate diagnosis is.

Defense: B

It’s hard to quantify what Kaiser does on the defensive end. He’s not going to block a ton of shots or harvest steals, but he’s a very good defender on the ball. Take anyone about 6’5” or over who tends to use his physical size to get buckets, and Kaiser is going to take him out of his game. He’s not going to lock down a small slashing guard, but I’m confident there’s nobody who is going to bully him to the rim off the bounce, and Gark Clark will back me up on that.

Overall: B-

The thing is, Kaiser is mostly a spot-up shooter on offense. He needs to catch and shoot and make long jumpers to be at his most effective. It’s hard to get past how miserable he was from behind the arc down the stretch. He has the ability to get to the rim on occasion and the athleticism to do something when he gets there, but he doesn’t show it often. He was able to fit in as three-and-D guy this year and watch the offensive fireworks around him. X is going to need more than that out of his senior campaign.