College Basketball Nation: Hank Gathers

Loyola Marymount has team of Terry Tates

October, 25, 2010
Loyola Marymount returns four starters from a surprising 18-win team and figures to make a push this season to become a serious contender in the West Coast Conference.

To any students on campus who haven't yet realized this and continue wearing gear in support of another school, the team has issued a warning for them to keep their heads on a swivel.

In this fun video for LMU's Madness event, guard Vernon Teel channels famed office linebacker Terry Tate in tackling an annoying USC fan, screaming, "C'mon! Tell me where you go to school! You go to LMU! Don't be bringing that USC gear around here! Represent your school right!"

Students wearing UCLA, Cal, Gonzaga and Pepperdine gear are subjected to similar treatment and taunts from Teel's teammates before being offered amnesty in the form of LMU T-shirts.

"The past few years, we recognize people aren't representing the team right," Teel explains on the video. "But this year, we decided to take it into our own hands. It's about intimidation, baby! This is our campus, baby. We have to represent it right. You the fans are going to help us win the WCC championship this year, baby."

The Lions' title talk and statement about fan apathy no longer being acceptable comes at a time when coach Max Good appears to have some momentum going with the program.

LMU upset Gonzaga last season, beating a ranked team and eventually going to a postseason tournament (CIT) for the first time since 1990 when the Lions made a run to the Elite Eight in the wake of the death of star Hank Gathers.

But as a relatively small Catholic school in Los Angeles without a football team, LMU can often take a backseat to USC and UCLA when it comes to the rooting interests of its students.

One way of making them pay attention to this year's team? By drilling the idea into their heads.

UC Riverside's Gurganious puts career in perspective

March, 5, 2010
On the 20th anniversary of the death of Hank Gathers, UC Riverside guard Larry Gurganious watched the old Loyola Marymount games being replayed on ESPN Classic and found himself glued to the television.

Gurganious said he hadn't known much about Gathers' story until Thursday, and it hit home with him. His 15-year-old brother, David, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest while sitting on the bench during a basketball game at El Cerrito (Calif.) High on Feb. 2.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, David stopped breathing, but David's coach and a parent performed CPR and he regained a pulse. David is now out of the hospital.

"To see [Gathers play] and then what happened to my brother, it hit me hard this morning," Gurganious said. "It let me know I really could have lost him."

Gurganious has not missed a game through all this. He was shaken by the late-night call from his sister that informed him of David's collapse and considered going home to Northern California, but said his parents talked him out of it.

"The game took my mind off of what was going on," Gurganious said. "We had to push for the tournament, and my brother had started responding. He's his old self pretty much now."

The brothers were reunited for an emotional Senior Night on Feb. 20, with Gurganious scoring 10 points in a BracketBuster win against Youngstown State.

Gurganious, a transfer from Gonzaga, is hoping he can extend his college career after tonight. UC Riverside (12-16) plays Long Beach State and wants to clinch the eighth and final berth into the Big West tournament.

His brother's episode had the Highlanders program rallying around him, and he's also received support from former coaches at Gonzaga and former Zags teammate Ronny Turiaf, who needed to undergo open-heart surgery in order to have an NBA career. Playing for the Golden State Warriors, Turiaf visited with David and also recently donated defibrillators, including one to El Cerrito High.

Gurganious is holding out hope for one final postseason that would cap off a career that hasn't been easy. He medically redshirted his entire sophomore season while recovering from a back injury, and eventually transferred after going to the NCAA tournament with Gonzaga in 2008.

The 6-foot-5, 195-pounder then sat out all of last year when the NCAA denied his hardship waiver and an appeal before becoming eligible at UC Riverside. This season, he's been second on the team in points and rebounds.

Tonight could be his final college game.

"We’re going to play like our backs are against the wall," Gurganious said.

Hank Gathers, 20 years later

March, 4, 2010
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers at the West Coast Conference tournament.

Doug Gottlieb remembers the moment, and ABC and ESPN will air "Guru of Go" next month. The preview film footage includes haunting images of Gathers' final game.