Men's Basketball Inks Two to National Letters of Intent

Nov. 14, 2007

CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati men's basketball team signed two players to national letters of intent for the 2008-09 season, head coach Mick Cronin announced today (Nov. 14). Joining the Bearcats are forward Yancy Gates (Cincinnati, OH/Withrow) and guard Cashmere Wright (Savannah, GA/Urban Christian High School).

"Yancy is a major recruit for this program. He could have named his school and he chose to stay at home and join us in building Bearcat Basketball into a BIG EAST contender. Yancy is a great kid with a big smile and a big heart, but also a big body that can run and jump. He has a soft touch and quick feet for someone his size and he is going to be a great player for us. I am very excited to work with him and help him develop his game to go along with his great size and athleticism. Bearcat fans are going to love this young man and we are glad he and his family chose to stay at home with us."

Gates, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound forward, is one of the nation's top 50 players according to several recruiting sites. As a junior at Withrow High School playing for Walt McBride, Gates averaged 19.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game in 2006-07. He helped the Tigers to a 17-6 record and missed the state semifinals by one game. A second-team Ohio all-state selection, Gates is the first freshman player in Cronin's first three recruiting classes to come from the talent-rich Cincinnati area.

Gates joins a team with a young, deep front court that includes 6-foot-11 freshman center Anthony McClain and freshman forwards Kenny Belton, Rashad Bishop, Alvin Mitchell, and Darnell Wilks. They will be accompanied by junior transfer Mike Williams, who will miss this year with a torn Achilles tendon.



The addition of Wright, a 6-foot-0 point guard, gives the Bearcats added depth next season in the backcourt, which loses seniors Jamual Warren and Marvin Gentry.

"Cashmere is a high-level point guard that has all the tools - speed, quickness, vision, leadership, and a great perimeter shot. Cashmere is a great kid that has the type of character you want in all of your players, but especially your point guard. I am so excited about him because of his speed. He is as fast as he needs to be to beat you, and believe me he can fly. Cashmere is also a great shooter and that is something we need as well. Cashmere is a key recruit for us as we continue to upgrade our talent level."

Wright, another highly-regarded recruit who is ranked among many of the recruiting services top 100 players, comes to Cincinnati from the Urban Christian Academy in Savannah, Ga., where he averaged 36.2 points, 10.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game in 2006-07. In his first two games this season, Wright has posted 43 and 35 points, respectively, and is a McDonald's All-America candidate.

"We have added two very talented players, the kind of players you must have to compete in the BIG EAST Conference," said Cronin. "Our 2007 and 2008 classes now total eight recruits. All of these players have BIG EAST caliber talent, and we must now coach and develop them into a team that can compete for a championship in the years to come. They will combine with Mike Williams and Deonta Vaughn and grow into a team that can compete at the highest level as they gain experience.

"We will have two or three scholarships remaining, which depends on the status of Mike Williams having one or two years to play. We may use these scholarships in the `08 class if we find the right players, or choose to save one or two for the `09 class. The process of rebuilding our program is challenging, but recruiting, developing talent, and gaining experience are all steps we must go through to get us where we want to be. My staff has done a great job assisting me in this process and we appreciate the support of all of our loyal Bearcat fans."