Ricardo Gathers commits to Baylor

Updated: February 6, 2012, 7:30 PM ET
By Dave Telep | ESPN.com

Scott Drew's Baylor Bears closed strong as power forward Ricardo Gathers (LaPlace, La./Riverside Academy), ESPNU's No. 35 overall prospect in the Class of 2012, committed to Baylor on Monday.

The one-time St. John's commitment re-opened his recruitment and took long looks at Florida, UNLV, LSU and Baylor before making a final commitment to Baylor. His pledge is the fourth overall for the Bears and their third Top-100 prospect. Overall, Baylor's class leaps to No. 4 in the nation, one spot ahead of North Carolina.

Since the de-commitment from St. John's, Baylor was Gathers' lone official visit.

"He went up there last week and said that he wanted to (commit)," Gathers' brother Greg said. "I told him to sit on it for a week. Baylor had been recruiting him since he's been in the 7th and 8th grade and there's a connection with 'Tweety' Carter going up there and it's a situation where they have Isaiah Austin, L.J. Rose and they already have Gary Franklin that he's familiar with."

Gathers, one of the top rebounders from last year's Nike EYBL circuit, was looking for a school where he would specifically be locked into time at the power forward position.

"I think it was really important for him," Gathers said of the four-man position. "On top of that being on the circuit and being a guy from Louisiana he's had to always play the five. Now he's a four man; he does things from the wing too. He's got a game like Thomas Robinson and maybe Jared Sullinger who can also show they get it done outside."

The Bears diligently recruited Gathers, according to Riverside head coach Tim Byrd.

"(Ricardo) said they outworked everybody," Byrd said. "He told me the family loves them."

Dave Telep is a senior national recruiting analyst for ESPN.com.