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Oregon Ducks Basketball: A New Face Joins The Coaching Staff

Armon Gates joins the Ducks after coaching for Nebraska

Oregon v Utah Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

The University of Nebraska announced on July 6th that assistant coach Armon Gates had left the team to join Dana Altman and the Oregon Ducks. Today we take a closer look at the player and coach that Altman has brought on board.

Armon Gates The Player

Pittsburgh Panthers v Kent State Flashes
#25 Armon Gates defends #11 Carl Krauser in the 2006 NCAA tournament
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Gates played his college career for the Kent State Golden Flashes between 2003-2004 to 2006-2007. Kent State recorded four straight 20-win seasons during his time there, and reached post-season play three times. Kent State won the MAC in 2006 and reached the 2006 NCAA tournament. There, they saw first-round action against Pitt, as a #12 seed vs. the #5 seed. (Kent State fell in the opening round, and Pitt lost in the 2nd round to #13 Bradley. Bradley upset #4 Kansas before upsetting #5 Pitt).

In his senior season at Kent State, Gates boasted a 37% 3-point percentage, with 89% at the charity stripe. He graduated with a degree in leisure studies at Kent State in 2006 and earned his masters in 2007 in sports administration.

Armon Gates The Coach

Gates then began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. In the one season where he was on staff, WKU reached the Sweet 16 and ended with a 29-7 record. Gates then returned to Kent State as an assistant coach in 2008-2010 before joining TCU. While coaching TCU in the 2010-2011 season, he began to build on his reputation as a guards coach and was instrumental in Hank Thorns’ top-11 national placement in assists and assists-to-turnover ratio.

Armon Gates then coached in 2011-2013 for Loyola Chicago. LC was 7-23 in the 2011 season, but improved to 15-16 in 2012. At this time, Ramblers standout Ben Avercamp earned All-Horizon League honors in both seasons.

Gates coached the next five seasons at Northwestern, under coach Chris Collins. During his tenure there, Gates helped NW get to a pair of 20-win seasons, in addition to their first-ever NCAA appearance in 2017. It was at Northwestern where Gates began to show some recruiting acumen, as he helped NW to a top-30 recruiting class in 2014 and a top-24 class in 2018. Gates worked with the backcourt players to various league honors during his tenure at Northwestern.

In 2018, Gates became an assistant coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, working primarily with the guards and with player development. Save for the 2020 season as an associate head at Florida, Gates has been instrumental at Nebraska with all facets of coaching, scouting, and recruiting. While Nebraska basketball is not a basketball powerhouse in any respect, that’s not necessarily an indication of Gates’ abilities as a coach.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - First Round - Tennessee Photo by Donald Page/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

While Armon Gates’ coaching role with the Ducks has not yet been defined, it appears clear enough that he will be busy working with the Oregon backcourt and developing the talented guards that the Ducks are bringing to the next season. Gates has the experience to develop guards, and specifically point guards, so Duck fans will see if that is what takes place. And this is speculation on my part - so take it as such - but if we see congealing with guard play and the emergence of better point guard activity in 2022-2023, it can likely be attributed to the coaching of Armon Gates.