Riverside’s Gathers signs with Baylor
Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 20, 2012
By RYAN ARENA
RESERVE — One of the most decorated high school athletes to ever compete in the River Parishes officially stamped the ticket to his next destination Monday, as Riverside basketball star Ricardo Gathers signed his letter of intent to attend Baylor at a ceremony at RA.
Gathers’ signing ended a whirlwind recruitment that Rebels basketball coach Timmy Byrd said has gone on since Gathers was in the eighth grade. The 6-foot-8 forward/center is rated as the nation’s 36th overall prospect and Louisiana’s No. 1 prospect by ESPNU.
Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said Gathers’ choice, in his mind, came down to the chance to play for a winner.
“He’s won three rings in high school, and he wants to win at the college level,” said Byrd. “The chance for Rico to play for a national championship is exciting for him and for all of us.”
Gathers originally committed to St. John’s of New York last year, but decommitted just before the start of the past prep season. He committed to Baylor in early Feburary.
The added attention that his recruitment brought did not affect his game adversely, as he put up dominating numbers once again. Gathers averaged 22 points, 17 rebounds, 4.1 blocks and 1.1 steals, helping to lead the Rebels to a state runner-up finish in Class 2A.
Gathers is a two-time Class 2A MVP and a three time championship game MVP after leading the Rebels to two state championships and Reserve Christian to one before the school closed its doors. Gathers was named Louisiana’s Mr. Basketball as a junior and has been selected to the All-State team for four consecutive seasons.
He is most likely to be the player Baylor coach Scott Drew leans upon most to replace the production lost via Bears’ front line players Quincy Acy and Perry Jones III., both of whom departing Baylor for the NBA.
“He can fill the hole that Quincy Acy leaves them. He’s their missing ingredient for next year,” said Byrd.
Byrd expects Gathers to make an immediate splash at the next level, as he believes that his big man and the surrounding cast at Baylor are a perfect match.
“Teams won’t be able to double and triple-team him. Ricardo has the kind of ability where really, you can’t stop him one-on-one. I think he’s going to have a really good career there.”