On Friday, German basketball team Telekom Baskets Bonn and former Cincinnati Bearcat Yancy Gates agreed to part ways. It was another in a growing list of stops for Gates since he left the hallowed halls of the University of Cincinnati.
For the four years he was with the Bearcats, there was no more consistent Cincinnati player in the paint than Gates. From 2008 to 2012, Gates was a lock for at least 10 points and six boards every night, turning it up as a senior on his way to being named to the 2012 Big East Championship All-Tournament team. He is the only player in program history to lead UC in rebounding in four-straight seasons. Doing that for a school that has benefited from the services of players such as Kenyon Martin, Danny Fortson and Paul Hogue is quite the accomplishment. Of course there were dark days as well, but there's no doubt that Gates was a standout for the Bearcats during the Big East years.
But what happened afterward?
Despite improving his admittedly low stock during the March leading up to the 2012 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-9 forward went undrafted and was forced to go overseas to cash checks playing basketball. His first stop along the way was Lithuania, as he signed with BC Pieno žvaigždės of the Lithuania Basketball League. In his first and only season with the team, Gates averaged 11.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
After Lithuania, Gates traveled to Puerto Rico to spend the summer playing for Brujos de Guayama, a team in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional. (Here's a quick tip, don't go to the website for Brujos de Guayama.) He put up 11.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game across 17 contests.
Those short-lived stints led to the next stop on the international tour for Gates, who went on to Israel to play for Hapoel Eilat B.C., part of the Israeli Basketball Super League. (The Hapoel Eilat logo is a shark breathing fire so that's pretty neat). His production dropped some with Eilat, as he averaged 10.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, although he was a part of a team that made it to the cup finals of the league. In addition, he was voted to the Lithuanian League All-Star Game.
Gates would go on to play for two other teams in Israel, joining Hapoel Tel Aviv for the 2014-15 season while playing for Hapeol Jerusalem in 2015 as well. Both of those squads compete in the Israel Premier League.
With Tel Aviv, Gates really seemed to have found his comfort zone, averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He made it to the All-Star game for the Israeli League and then played in the preseason with Jerusalem.
Despite the success he found in Israel, Gates packed his bags again, finding his way to China to play for Shanxi Zhongyu, where he averaged 16.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, despite such strong production, he was waived by the club in December. That setback led Gates to Germany, but, as we know, his run with Telekom Baskets Bonn was cut short.
This summer, Gates is hoping to play stateside, this time in The Basketball Tournament, a rapidly growing annual amateur basketball tourney. He is a member of Team BDB, which is run by former Kansas Jayhawk Josh Shelby and features other Cincinnati alum like Justin Jackson and Ibrahima Thomas.