Riverside’s Gathers named Mr. Basketball by LSWA

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011



Riverside’s Ricardo Gathers has been collecting the postseason hardware seemingly daily since his Rebels defeated Evangel for the Class 2A championship – the third consecutive championship team Gathers has been a part of.

But Gathers joined some rarified air this week. The 6-foot-7-inch big man has been named Mr. Basketball by the Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association.

Gathers is the 16th recipient of the award and only the second junior to ever be named Mr. Basketball. The other was Helen Cox’s Greg Monroe, who received the honor in 2007 and 2008.

It sets up Gathers to perhaps join Monroe as the only players to ever capture the award twice.

“When I heard, I was astounded,” said Gathers. “Not a lot of people can say they won as a junior. Only Greg Monroe … so to do anything and be compared to him says alot.”

“It’s not easy to receive that honor as an underclassman,” said Riverside coach Timmy Byrd, who coached another Mr. Basketball in 2006 at Reserve Christian in Tweety Carter. “But the writers knew who he was entering the season. He’d been named MVP of the state championship game twice already, the Class 2A Player of the Year last season … the fact that he came in as a dominant freshman, and the fact that he just does so many dominant things gave him the momentum to earn this.”

Byrd said that Gathers has a unique chance to do something special next season. Not only does he have the potential to earn Mr. Basketball honors for a second season in a row, but Byrd believes Gathers could be in the running to earn National Player of the Year recognition.

“He’s got a big advantage when you talk about the team surrounding him,” said Byrd. Greg (Monroe) I don’t think had that luxury necessarily in his senior year. Given the schedule we play and the team we have coming back, Ricardo’s got a chance to do it.”

Gathers echoed his coach’s praise of the Rebels’ roster.

“Everyone just competes. We compete in practice,” said Gathers. “This is the most competitive team I’ve been a part of.”

The coach believes Gathers cemented his standing for the award with his performance at the All-State Sugar Bowl Classic tournament in January, where he was named the tournament MVP.

“That opened some eyes,” said Byrd. “He was so dominating in that tournament, and the writers were the ones to vote for that. I think it gave him a big boost.”

Gathers said that he thinks next year could be an even bigger campaign for a team that brings back all fiveto-be-senior starters and all but one member of its 2010-11 rotation.

“I think it can definitely get better,” said Gathers. “We want to win a national championship. We want to go undefeated. But the only way we’re going to do that is to come out and work throughout the offseason.”