A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
For his 50 fellow Gatorade State Boys Basketball Player of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Ricardo Gathers
School: Riverside Academy (Reserve, La.)
Weight: 240 pounds
Athletic achievement: The state’s returning Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year, Gathers averaged 20.2 points, 17.0 rebounds, 4.1 blocks, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game this past season, leading the Rebels (33-10) to the Class 2A state championship game. He averaged 20.7 points, 16.2 rebounds and 3.9 blocks as a junior and 19.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks as a sophomore, leading Riverside Academy to the Class 2A state championship and capturing tournament Most Outstanding Player honors in both seasons. Also the state’s returning Mr. Basketball selection as named by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, Gathers participated in the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp and LeBron James Skills Academy this past summer.
Academic excellence: Gathers has maintained a 3.10 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: He has volunteered locally on behalf of his church as a referee for a youth basketball league.
“Ricardo is such a freak talent because he has an NBA motor,” said Riverside Academy head coach Timmy Byrd. “There’s nobody even close to him in the state of Louisiana and not a whole lot of guys close to him in the whole country. He can do a lot of different things, and that’s what makes him so unique. We’re going to miss him, because he fills the stat sheet, but on top of that, he plays so hard and makes his other teammates play hard.”
THE FUTURE: Gathers has verbally committed to play basketball on an athletic scholarship at Baylor University this fall.