Cleveland State Vikings feeling more than a rebuild. They’re feeling a resurgence

Second-year coach Dennis Gates setting high goals

Gates rebuilding CSU basketball

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Something’s happening at Cleveland State. More than a rebuild. A resurgence.

And Dennis Gates has everything to do with it. Last year’s Horizon League co-coach of the year has now, in his second season, landed the league’s top recruiting class. Because he was aiming high. Including landing a player out of Indiana, Mabor Majak, who’s 7′2.

“Well, you gotta look in high places.” Gates told me with a laugh. “And Mabor Majak, who’s a freshman, he has some bright days here in a Cleveland State University uniform.”

Win with size. Something Gates learned from his mentor at Florida State, Leonard Hamilton. He also learned something else.

″How to build a program from the ground up," Gates says. “Leonard Hamilton is probably the best architect at building programs in the country.”

Which is what Dennis is now doing. The Vikings haven’t been to the Big Dance in 11 years. Top players transferring out over the years has kept that streak alive.

But now Gates has added top talent, including local stars like Yahell Hill and Meechie Terry, to a group led by Algevon Eichelberger.

The question is, will the Vikings be able to hold on to Gates? He’s considered a rising star, but, he says, he already loves it here, and he’s targeting one thing: Gary Waters' 194 wins at CSU.

″I’ll tell you my goal, Tony," Gates said. “My goal is to become the all-time winningest head coach. I’ve said that at the very beginning of my career. I want to be at a place where I can become the all-time winningest head coach.”

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