Since being hired as the head coach of the Cleveland State men’s basketball program on June 26, Dennis Gates has hit the ground running and has done much-needed work. From offering recruits scholarships to getting a pair of commitments and making his first hire to his coaching staff. The process of returning the program to the top has truly begun and Gates looks eager to get to work.
Per CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Gates has started the process of filling his staff with his first hire being Rob Summers. Summers has spent the last two years as an assistant coach at James Madison, where he is credited to being one of the main reasons the team developed on the defensive side. Summers spent most of his time working with post players, with that James Madison has seen an increase in blocks the last three seasons. In the 2016-2017 season without Summers, James Madison was ranked eighth in conference with 89 blocks. When he took over as an assistant in 2017-2018, James Madison ranked fifth in conference with 104 blocks. Then in the 2018-2019 season, James Madison ranked third in conference with 101 blocks.
Another area of growth for James Madison is offensive rebounding. After ranking sixth in conference for offensive rebounds in the 2016-2017 season, James Madison has ranked in the top three in the last two seasons with Summers in charge. From having 310 offensive rebounds in the 2016-2017 season. Then having 361 offensive rebounds in the 2017-2018 season. Then in the 2018-2019 season, James Madison had 349 offensive rebounds in 2018-2019.
Under Summers tutelage, forward Dwight Wilson jumped from averaging 3.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 0.1 blocks in 9.5 minutes played per a game in the 2017-2018 season. To averaging 10.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 0.5 blocks in 25.8 minutes played per a game in the 2018-2019.
In the two years that Summers has been an assistant at James Madison, the team has had an overall record of 24-41. Summers was the head coach of Urbana (Ohio) from 2014-2017. Urbana plays at the level of Division II. In the time span from 2014-2017, Urbana had an overall record of 20-66. Summers was at James Madison previously as director of operations from 2013-2014. Prior to that he was the associate head coach at Glenville State from 2011-2013, in that time span Glenville State had an overall record of 21-35.
Summers played collegiality at Penn State from 2002-2004, he then transferred to West Virginia playing there from 2005-2007. At West Virginia, Summers played under John Beilein. Who was recently hired to take over as the Cleveland Cavaliers head coach. Now Cleveland has two connections between the Cavaliers and the Vikings. Summers and Beilein and with Gates and Lindsay Gottlieb, who was hired as an assistant to Beilein. Gottlieb and Gates developed a friendship with their time together at California.
Gates got his first two players to commit to Cleveland State. Those being guard Tyrese Potoma and guard Tre GoMillion, both will look to fill a void left by Tyree Appleby and Rasheem Dunn. Guards under guidance from Gates have saw serious improvement in their games.
Potoma is from Regina, Canada, he went to High School at DME Sports Academy and attended Junior College at Laramie County Community College. At Laramie County, Poroma averaged 18.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 17.2 minutes played per a game in the 2018-2019 season.
GoMillion is from Augusta, Georgia, he went to High School at Aquinas High School and attended Junior college at Gordon State College. At Gordon State, GoMillion averaged 13.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 28.6 minutes played per a game in the 2018-2019 season. Both GoMillion and Potoma have three years left to play.
Gates is not only recruiting players for this season; he is already looking into future players. Those players are forward Javon Cooley, forward Patrick Suemnick and forward Jace Howard. To go along with forward Jonathan Bolden and guard Darius Harding from the class of 2020. While also targeting forward Daylen Williams from the class of 2019 to join as an incoming freshman.
Cooley is from Chicago, Illinois, and he is currently going to High School at Bosco Institute. Cooley currently has one offer and that is from Cleveland State per Verbal Commits.
Suemnick is from Denmark, Wisconsin, and he is also currently going to High School at Bosco Institute. Suemnick is fielding offers from Minnesota-Crookston, Northwest Missouri State, Missouri-St. Louis, Concordia St. Paul, Minnesota-Duluth, along with an offer from Cleveland State per Verbal Commits.
Howard is from Hollywood, Florida. Howard is currently going to High School at Nova Southeastern University. Howard is fielding offers from Brown, San Diego State, Dayton, Saint Louis and Northern Illinois, along with an offer from Cleveland State per Verbal Commits.
Bolden is from Harvest, Alabama, and he attended High School at Sparkman High School and is currently going to Junior College at Columbia State Community College. Bolden has two offers, one from Jacksonville State and another from Cleveland State per Verbal Commits.
Harding is from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Harding went to High School at Elizabethtown High School and is currently attending Junior College at Motlow State Community College. Harding is fielding multiple offers from Southeast Missouri State, Arkansas State, Kent State, Akron, Bryant, along with an offer from Cleveland State per Verbal Commits.
Williams just graduated from Fairfax High School in 2019 and is from Los Angeles, California. He is expected to make his official visit next week.
Gates was considered a high recruiter before he came to Cleveland State. Now that he is here, the Vikings can see firsthand of him going to work. As he is touching every part of the country. Interesting facts about two recruits, Howard is the son of Juwan Howard. Juwan was part of Michigan’s fab five, he spent 25 years in the NBA either playing or coaching and is currently Michigan’s new head coach. Williams is the son of John Williams aka Hot Plate. John was a standout player at LSU, he was drafted 12th-overall in the 1986 NBA draft and played eight years in the NBA.