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What Dennis Gates had to say prior to Mizzou’s first road trip of the season

Gates spoke with the media on Wednesday afternoon as the Tigers are set to visit Minnesota on Thursday.

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Mizzou men’s basketball coach Dennis Gates held a media session on Wednesday afternoon to preview the game against Minnesota on Thursday and provided some injury updates as well. Here’s what he had to say:

How Mizzou responded to adversity early in the season: “Sometimes, work doesn’t always lead to immediate success. or outcomes that you want... it takes some patience. Our guys’ hearts are in the right place, and that’s what I look at most...with so many new guys, it allows us to get to know each other in a quicker way with our feet to the fire.”

On what he’s learned about his team through three games: “We have to continue to take care of the basketball...we have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio on the season, but it’s not how I want. I want a two-to-one ratio.” (For reference, Mizzou currently sports a 1.2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio; last year’s team finished with a 1.4:1 ratio).

“The other thing is being able to bounce back from the Memphis lesson...being able to compete but also recover...I don’t think we handled ourselves accordingly in the second half, and I’ll do a better job with that. That starts with me.”

On what different challenges Minnesota poses as opposed to Memphis: “Minnesota is a more physical look at size for position...whenever you have size for the position, you pose a threat of giving up multiple free throws...we have to be able to match them at the free throw line.”

On Connor Vanover’s prospective role in his first game of the season: “We just have to see where he’s at. He’s been practicing...he’s been coaching his behind off in our last three games. He’s been intuitive mentally and emotionally...I don't want him just to try to make home runs. I want him to play simple and stay within himself and ultimately allow the game to come to him.”

On defending Minnesota’s ball movement-heavy offense: “We cannot allow the mental fatigue of what passing does, we cannot allow that to offset us. They’re also a team that can run in opportunity and make easy’s going to come down to our communication in a road environment.”

On what he wants to see from the newcomers in their first road test at Mizzou: “I don’t want our guys to panic. When I say panic, I don’t want to see them do uncharacteristic things.”

On Nick Honor: “He’s too and his dad talk often...Nick is a highly empathetic guy. He cares what his teammates think. He cares if he’s viewed as a guy that’s shooting too much...he just doesn’t shoot enough for me, and I want him to shoot it how D’Moi Hodge had no conscience. I think you guys saw that last season.”

“We saw spurts of Nick Honor being able to take over a game. I just think he allows the game to come to him, which is a great characteristic of leadership and patience, but I want him to be aggressive, too.”

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

On the aggression levels of other players: “I want Aidan Shaw to be more aggressive. When you look at Aidan Shaw, you see different plays that he makes in practice, the risks he takes in practice, that has to take place in a game. I think he plays safe because he doesn’t want to make mistakes. Ultimately, it’s my job to continue to build his confidence up so he can go out there and give his very best.”

“The other kid that I would say should be a little more unselfish is Tamar Bates. Tamar’s a tremendous young man. He has Big Ten experience...I want to see Tamar Bates selfishly do some things as well.”

On Minnesota head coach Ben Johnson: “He’s an unbelievable coach...he has tremendous reach when it comes to recruiting. He had a tremendous class...he’s growing as a coach, no different than me. Tremendous student of the game, respected among our peers. He’s an unbelievable person. His best coaching is ahead of him. I truly believe he’ll be on the sidelines as a head coach for twenty-plus years...he’s the right guy that fits their system.”

On the home-and-home series with Minnesota: “I’m trying to resurrect and reconstruct a tradition-rich basketball program, no different than coach Johnson is doing. And when you look at the history of both programs, it’s fitting that we do play. It’s fitting that a state school plays another state school, especially when it’s not based off of a challenge...whenever you have competitive teams that look at an advantage of teams growing, especially this early, playing a road game or having another high-major in their gym to play a home game, you give something to your fan base.”

On the status of Kaleb Brown: “He had two situations taking place at the same time..the shin bruise and also flu-like illness. He’s over the flu-like illness...we’re still precautionary until we get some results on what is taking place with that shin...he will travel...he may or may not play. We’ll have to make that decision at game time.”

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

On the status of Nick Honor: “Nick Honor is perfectly fine as well. Nick is playing...he just held himself out, and it was ok because of the score. He would have put himself back in the game...if guys sub themselves out, they have a right to come back in the game. I checked with him. He just gave me the nod... ‘Let Ant (Anthony Robinson II) get some reps.”