If you want to read a preview of tomorrow’s game against Northern Iowa, we already have one for you! Check it out here. Because of the scheduling quirk, another Battle for the Cornsword will take place tomorrow, this time at the Cintas Center, against a Panthers team that Xavier just vanquished on Sunday. So, the player preview from Saturday still applies.
Instead, this is about the return of Kaiser Gates. After nursing a knee injury from this summer, Gates and the Xavier medical team decided to have his knee scoped. It sounds like this was not necessarily a must-have procedure; rather, it was done to speed up his recovery time. To say that he will be valuable for the Musketeers is an understatement, and a Xavier team that has been struggling with depth will be jubilant to see him in uniform again.
A lot of people are pointing to his return as a monumental point in the season. While Gates is a great player with enormous potential, he’s been out of practice for an extended period of time and will have to adjust to a larger work load.
Last year, he only averaged about 10 minutes and three points a game, but his contribution on the defensive end was much more pronounced. His length and versatility to guard nearly any position on the floor will be a tremendous benefit. Listed this year at 228 pounds as opposed to the 217 pounds he was last year, Gates has gotten #yoked in the off-season and this hard work could pay off in a big way. Just like Trevon Bluiett, Kaiser is hoping his dedication to improvement both with his physique and skill will benefit the Musketeers throughout the campaign.
His ability to connect from the perimeter, lock down on particular players, and stretch the defense as a whole encompass the potential for Gates to develop into a star this year.