The Tigers (4-0) are experimenting with various looks while opening with seven games at Mizzou Arena. They deployed a five-guard lineup during stretches of their 105-80 victory over SIU Edwardsville Tuesday after forward Kobe Brown encountered early foul trouble.
Guard D'Moi Hodge took charge with 30 points and seven rebounds.
"He plays both sides of the basketball," Gates said. "I'm not afraid to say this out loud or say it to him: He's a guy that can play in the NBA. He can catch and shoot, and he can play on the (defensive) side of the basketball."
Earlier this season, Brown had 20 points and 14 rebounds against Southern Indiana and forward Noah Carter had 28 points and eight rebounds against Pennsylvania.
Missouri State transfer Isiaih Mosley is still finding his way under Gates after leading the Missouri Valley in scoring the previous two years. He sat out one game this season and he came off the bench in the other three.
Mosley had 10 points, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot against SIU Edwardsville.
"What's important to him is to show everyone that he can play both sides of the basketball because the load offensively isn't just going to be on his shoulders," Gates said.
Mississippi Valley State (1-4) is rebuilding under new coach George Ivory after going 4-48 the last two seasons. Ivory starred for the Delta Devils as a player and he took Arkansas-Pine Bluff to the NCAA Tournament once during his previous head-coaching stop.
He hopes to do the same at his alma mater.
"There's a different sense of pride about the program," Ivory told ESPN.com. "What we're trying to instill is the past, how our pride was for basketball, the whole athletic department."
The Delta Devils opened the season with a 117-53 loss at Baylor with some key players ineligible. They played Eastern Washington tough while losing 60-52 Monday, then they beat North Alabama 76-68 Friday.
Terry Collins poured in 27 against points against North Alabama and is averaging a team-high 16.4 per game.
--Field Level Media
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