Dennis Gates isn’t looking at 7-5 Conner Vanover as a center. He’s looking at him as the “tallest guard in the country.”

You read that right. 7-foot-5. Vanover is entering his 6th year in college basketball with his 4th different team, but his last year could be his best.

Vanover started at Cal before transferring to Arkansas, where he was primarily a bench player. He then transferred to Oral Roberts where he starred alongside Max Abmas. Now, he’s back in the SEC.

At the SEC hoops media days tipoff Wednesday afternoon, Mizzou HC Dennis gates told reporters how the Tigers want Vanover to be used following the departure of their top big, Kobe Brown.

Here’s what he had to say:

“Well, as a basketball player, you look at the experience Connor Vanover was in the 90th percentile in two-point field goal percentage. He shot close to 40% from the three-point line,” Gates said. “He’s a guy that causes matchup problems because you look at him in height, I look at him just as a basketball player. He’s the tallest guard in the country. That’s my philosophy. Now, at the end of the day I’m going to ask him to not only block shots and score, I’m going to ask him to continue to make unbelievable assists, be a defensive presence, be able to do multiple things, be an anchor, be a leader. He’s done a tremendous job from day one. I’m excited, again, about what he’s bringing to our program each and every day.”

It’s worth noting that while Vanover can definitely stretch the floor at 7-5, he shot just under 33% from range last season on 130+ attempts, not exactly “close to 40%.” However, Gates’ point still stands. He can stretch the floor and does things that not every big can do, even if his size (weight) has some limitations against Power 6 foes.

His use will be as interesting to watch as any player in the conference this season. The Tigers tip off their season on Nov. 6 against Arkansas Pine Bluff.