Kaiser Gates (22), shoots a three-pointer in a February 2018 game against Georgetown. A graduate of St. Francis High School in Alpharetta, he will leave Xavier a year early to pursue a career in the NBA.
Photo: John Minchillo/AP
Photo: John Minchillo/AP

North Fulton native leaves Xavier for NBA Draft

Kaiser Gates will pursue his dream of playing professional basketball a year early.

The 6-foot-8 forward from Alpharetta has elected to forego his senior season for the Xavier Musketeers and enter the pool for the NBA Draft.

Shannon Russell of The Athletic reports that Gates has already hired an agent, which makes him ineligible to return to Xavier’s basketball team. He was not invited to the NBA combine.

Gates tweeted his decision on Saturday.

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Gates is a graduate of St. Francis High School in north Fulton County, where he scored more than 1,200 points, won two state titles and finished as the school’s all-time leading rebounder. He chose to attend Xavier over scholarship offers from Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Florida State, Missouri and Georgia.

At St. Francis, Gates shared the court with current NBA players Malik Beasley and Kobi Simmons.

In three seasons at Xavier, Gates helped the Musketeers reach the NCAA tournament each season, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2017. This past season, he averaged 7.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per-game as Xavier captured a No. 1 seed for the tournament, its first in school history. He also shot 37 percent from three-point range.

Xavier’s head coach, Chris Mack, left this offseason for the same job at Louisville. Mack’s top assistant, Travis Steele, replaced him.

“I think Kaiser has what a lot of people look at in the NBA,” Steele told The Athletic. “He can shoot the ball and he can really defend. Three and ‘d.’ I think that really fits that mold. Hopefully he can get an opportunity.”

Gates is not listed in mock NBA drafts from SB NationSporting News or Bleacher Report.

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