By Cory Linsner
The Dennis Gates era will officially begin when the Cleveland State University men’s basketball team takes the court on Nov. 5 in Minneapolis against the University of Minnesota of the Big Ten Conference. A big roster turnover, plus a new coaching staff, makes this season an interesting one. A rebuild is imminent, and for the Vikings to see future success under coach Gates, laying a solid foundation for the program this season is a must. I trekked my way to coach Gates’ office to sit down and talk about what this season will look like, and how he plans to help improve the program.
When asked about how the Vikings will approach this season, Gates was straight forward with his answer.
“Quality not quantity,” Gates emphasized. “Building a sense of quality within the program, and doing things the right way, and hammering fundamentals every day is a must. Building off of the aspect of quality, consistency and building a championship every day.”
The non-conference schedule will put the Vikings to the ultimate battle test with a number of big-name opponents on the schedule.
“The thing that stands out most within our non-conference schedule is the physical brand of basketball we will have to play,” Gates said.
With games against three respected basketball conferences (Minnesota, the University of South Carolina, and DePaul University), big-time basketball will be at the forefront for the Vikings. Gates also made sure to emphasize that the Vikings will find themselves in several hostile environments, which will build a lot of character with the team. Road trips to Minnesota and South Carolina will be big tests. Trips to Missouri State University as well as East Tennessee State University also are not automatic wins, as both teams have the ability to be playing in March this season.
The team is excited, and full of energy, as the season is soon upon us. Gates will look to set a foundation that brings success to the Cleveland State program in the near future.