Darian DeVries had no idea who that was outplaying the point guard he showed up to watch at an AAU tournament in Chicago last summer.
But the Creighton assistant coach figured it was time to get acquainted with Andre Yates of Dayton, Ohio.
"I talked with an Ohio State assistant and asked him what he knew about Yates,'' DeVries said. "He said Yates was a good player, but that they weren't recruiting him. I thought to myself, 'Well, we are.'''
That set in motion the process that led the 6-foot, 185-pound Yates to commit to Creighton last fall. In six weeks, Yates will report to Omaha and begin competing for a spot in next season's rotation.
His high school coach won't be surprised if Yates makes a quick transition to the collegiate game.
"Knowing him, he'll put himself right in the mix,'' Dayton Dunbar coach Peter Pullen said. "He's smart enough to pick up their system, and I think he'll do what he needs to do so that he can play right away.''
Creighton returns nine of its 10 players from its regular rotation. The one who won't be back is Antoine Young, a three-year starter at point guard. Austin Chatman spent last season as Young's backup, and he's penciled in to take over for Young next season.
Yates, though, will get ample opportunity to show what he can do at the point, where he split time with freshman Amos Harris this season. Harris already has scholarship offers from a number of Division I schools.
"We were a team that when we'd get the ball off the boards, we'd run,'' Pullen said. "All of our big guys could handle the ball, so we didn't depend on a point guard as much as some teams. But Andre did an excellent job of running things whenever we got into a set offense.''
And when an undefeated season was on the line in the final game of the season, it was Yates who ran the floor and made the winning basket in the Ohio Division II state championship game against Elida.
Yates took an outlet pass after a missed free throw, drove up court, slipped past a couple of defenders and dropped in a shot from the left block with 3.1 seconds to play. Elida missed a desperation shot from half court to seal Dunbar's 54-52 victory that allowed the Wolverines to win their fifth straight title, but their first with an unbeaten (28-0) record.
"When you're in that moment, so much is going on that you really don't have time to think about it,'' Yates said. "When I got the pass, I saw the whole left side of the court open. I made a move and got to the basket.
"Now that I've had time to think about it, that shot helped me do everything I set out to do my senior year. From the beginning of the year, we talked about winning the championship. And we managed to pull it off.''
For Yates, the championship justified his decision to transfer to Dunbar for his senior season. He had started high school there before transferring to suburban Trotwood-Madison High School for his sophomore and junior years.
"Andre accomplished what he set out to do,'' Pullen said. "He brought to our team what we thought he'd bring — a little toughness and the ability to score. He struggled a little at the beginning, but he got through that once we convinced him that he didn't have to do everything himself.
"He had other teammates that he could depend on. And then, when it was time for him to step up, he stepped up big for us.''
Yates played with two other Division I recruits, one of whom — Deontae "Teddy" Hawkins — will be playing at Missouri Valley rival Wichita State. The CU recruit averaged 14.5 points. And, by averaging about three steals a game, Yates showed he has the ability to get after it on the defensive end of the court.
"He's hard-nosed,'' Pullen said.
Yates said Creighton's coaches have emphasized that they're counting on him to bring a defensive presence to the court.
"Coach told me that he wants me to come in and guard somebody, that he thinks I have the ability to help them out defensively,'' Yates said. "I'm ready to prove that I can do that. I want to show them I can play.''
Yates has kept in contact with Isaiah Zierden, a shooting guard from St. Louis Park, Minn., who will join Yates as Creighton's incoming freshmen. Like Zierden, Yates was excited when he committed to the Bluejays, but that anticipation has only grown in watching Creighton win 29 games last season, including a game in the NCAA tournament.
"I can't wait to finally get down there and get started,'' Yates said. "Isaiah and I have talked about how we want to come in and do what we can to keep things rolling. Creighton has a lot of guys that aren't much older than we are. We feel that we can fit in well there.''
It was the atmosphere he experienced on his recruiting trip, Yates said, that ultimately led him to pick Creighton over scholarship offers from Dayton, Nebraska, Cleveland State and Morehead State.
Pullen said Yates' ability to make the transition from newcomer to team leader as a senior at Dunbar should aid him as he moves on to college basketball. Yates agrees.
"I've always been a guy that doesn't have any trouble meeting people and getting along,'' Yates said. "Of course, there's a big difference from switching high schools to leaving the state to go to college.
"But I'll be OK. One of the things that I really liked is the vibe I got from the guys on the team and from people around the city when I made my visit to Creighton. I'm not to worried about that part of it.''
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