Florida went with youth over experience in hiring 35-year-old Armon Gates as its new associate head basketball coach.
Gates did develop under a pair of strong mentors. At Loyola-Chicago from 2011-13, the former Kent State basketball standout worked under Porter Moser, who guided the 11th-seed Ramblers to the Final Four this past season. Then, from 2013-18, Gates worked at Northwestern under former Duke standout guard and current Northwestern coach Chris Collins.
Gates was on the staff with Collins that helped lead Northwestern to its first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017.
Milwaukee-Wisconsin coach Pat Baldwin, who worked with Gates as an assistant coach at Northwestern, described him in a Chicagosports.com article last year as “Young, vibrant. He has the juice. He’s a ‘hype’ guy. If he were boxing, he’d be (Don) King. The ignition is always turned on.”
Gates also has a connection with the Florida staff, having been a teammate for two seasons at Kent State with current UF assistant coach Jordan Mincy. Gates was a guard at Kent State from 2003-07, finishing second on the school’s all-time list in 3-pointers made with 200. Mincy played at Kent State from 2003-07.
From a recruiting standpoint, Gates has extensive ties in Chicago and the Midwest, which could pay dividends for the Gators down the road. St. Louis, in particular, has been a fertile recruiting ground for UF, producing former Gator standouts David Lee (2001-05), Alex Tyus (2007-11) and Bradley Beal (2011-12).
— Florida 2018 signee Andrew Nembhard finished with a solid floor game at Sunday’s Jordan Brand Classic game in Brooklyn, N.Y., going 4 for 10 from the floor with 9 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals in 29 minutes. The 6-foot-4 Nembhard also had 4 turnovers in a game in which little defense was played on both sides (judging from the 144-134 final score). Orlando Oak Ridge power forward and Fort Myers native Emmitt Williams led all scorers with 44 points, though many came on uncontested dunks. The 6-foot-8 Williams, an LSU signee, had scheduled a visit to Florida on Jan. 28 for UF’s game against Baylor, but canceled it the day before when he committed to LSU. Williams was arrested on sexual assault charges in Orlando in October of 2017, but charges were eventually dropped by the Orange County State Attorney’s office two months later.
— Florida senior point guard Chris Chiozza received the Lt. Fred Koss Award on Monday, and honor given annually to the Florida basketball senior who has personified the attributes of leadership, personal character, scholarship and competitive excellence. The 6-foot Chiozza also was one of 64 top college basketball seniors invited to take part in the Porstmoth (Va.) Invitational, a showcase event in front of NBA scouts will take place this Wednesday through Saturday. Chiozza, UF’s all-time assist leader at 571 career assists, is a longshot to be drafted due to his size, but could open some eyes with some strong performances this weekend.