April 9, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. - New Northern Illinois men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton announced on Monday [April 9] that he has named former Colorado aides John Anderson, Sundance Wicks and Will Smith along with Chicago native Dennis Gates to the NIU coaching staff for the upcoming 2007-08 campaign.
"We have assembled a staff that brings a wealth of experience both in recruiting and coaching on the floor," Patton said. "These are individuals that will be a good fit for the entire athletic department family and will certainly work well with the players."
Anderson, a well renowned high school coach in Tennessee from for close to 20 years, was a Colorado assistant from 2005-07. During his time in Boulder, he was responsible for off-campus recruiting, scouting and the Ricardo Patton Basketball Camps.
As head coach at Hillcrest High School in Memphis, Tenn., from 1987-2005, Anderson was a three-time recipient of the Tennessee Athletic Coaching Association's Coach of the Year (1994, 95, 96) and two-time District 16AA Coach of the Year (1995, 96). During the 1993-94 campaign, Anderson helped Hillcrest to 17th in the national poll after leading them to a 25-0 record.
"John Anderson had over 20 Division I players go to a number of different schools and conferences and brings a wealth of experience coaching AAU basketball in the summer with adidas and the ABCD camp," Patton said.
Gates, a four-year letterwinner for the California Bears from 1999-2002, comes to DeKalb after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach for his alma mater. Gates brings postseason experience as a player to the Huskies as he played a key role in the Bears' run to the 1999 National Invitational Tournament title and helped Cal earn bids to the NCAA Tournament in 2001 and 2002.
A native of Chicago, Gates served one-year stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2002-03) as an intern assistant coach and as a graduate assistant for both the Marquette Golden Eagles (2003-04) and Florida State Seminoles (2004-05). He was a two-time first-team Pac-10 All-Academic Team selection, Cal's Most Inspirational Player (2001) and was twice named the Bears' Outstanding Student-Athlete (1999-2001).
Gates is a 1998 graduate of Chicago Whitney Young High School and helped the Dolphins to the 1998 IHSA Class AA State Boys Basketball Championship. He will be inducted into the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame later this month.
"Dennis is a young man that played at Cal, and graduated in three years," Patton said. "He is a guy that plugs us into Chicago right away and is well respected among his peers across the country, but particularly in the state of Illinois."
Wicks, a former standout for Northern State (S.D.) University and coaching legend Don Meyer, joined Patton's staff at Colorado for the 2006-07 campaign. Prior to his stint in Boulder, Wicks served as an assistant coach from 2004-06 at his alma mater while earning his masters degree in health, physical education and coaching.
As a player, Wicks scored over 1,000 points for Northern State and helped the Wolves to a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) titles in 2002-03. He was a two-time All-NSIC first team and Academic All-Conference selection and was named NSU's Clark Swisher Male Athlete of the Year in 2003.
"Sundance brings a great deal of energy and teaching on the floor," Patton said.
Smith will remain as Patton's director of basketball operations after serving in the same capacity for three years at Colorado (2004-07). He was responsible for travel, practice plans, film exchange, game-by-game scouting, academics and coordinating the Ricardo Patton Basketball Camps.
Smith, who played at Colorado from 1996-2000, was Patton's first-ever signee as the Buffalo head coach and played on three postseason teams including the 1997 NCAA Tournament and the 1999 and 2000 NIT squads.
"Will does a terrific job with all the administrative jobs that we need from a person in his position," Patton said.
Patton was named the 26th head men's basketball coach in NIU history on March 19, 2007.