After first securing a trio of guards during the spring recruiting season, the UAlbany men’s basketball program received a commitment Sunday from Gerrale Gates, a 6-foot-6 forward.
“It just felt like the right place for me,” Gates said Monday in a phone interview. “It’s the right place for me to grow as a player and person.”
From Charlotte, North Carolina, the 235-pound Gates played his first two college seasons at New Orleans. Unless he obtains a transfer waiver — or if a proposed one-time NCAA transfer waiver passes this offseason — Gates will have to sit out the 2020-21 season. Whenever Gates starts playing, he will have two remaining seasons of eligibility.
At New Orleans, Gates averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 61 appearances. As a freshman, Gates averaged 8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game on his way to being named the Southland Conference’s top freshman.
“But I just felt like I needed a change. I felt like that wasn’t the place for me anymore. I felt like I could grow more in a different system. Basketball-wise, I just felt like that wasn’t the place for me,” the 20-year-old Gates said of his decision to leave New Orleans. “I want to showcase everything I can do on the court and help my team win.”
When he can start playing for UAlbany, Gates projects to contribute in the Great Danes’ frontcourt. With one open scholarship remaining for the 2020-21 season, rising redshirt juniors Brent Hank and Adam Lulka represent UAlbany’s lone bigs on the roster besides Gates.
While Gates has played more as a traditional big during his college career and has only taken 4 of 441 shots from 3-point territory, he said he views himself as a “mismatch” player who can operate in the post against smaller players and from the wing against bigger opponents.
“But,” Gates said. “I just want to help my team win.”
Gates said he had interest from a number of schools after entering into the NCAA transfer portal, including Holy Cross and Morehead State. Gates said he’s never been to Albany, but is excited to see the campus in person once restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.
“I want to get there as soon as I’m allowed to,” Gates said.
UAlbany signed West Genesee High School guard Will Amica during the fall, then received commitments from transfer guards Chuck Champion, Jamel Horton and CJ Kelly this spring prior to Gates’ commitment. Champion, Horton and Kelly will all be immediately eligible to play for the Great Danes, as will Amica.