Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Having reeled in a monster recruiting class for 2011, St. John’s coach Steve Lavin is now stockpiling big talent for 2012.
Ricardo Gathers, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound power forward from Laplace (La.) Riverside ranked No. 12 at his position by Rivals, has verbally committed to the Johnnies over LSU, Texas, Syracuse and Arizona.
“I picked St. John’s because of the coaching staff and I liked the way Coach Lavin communicated with me throughout the process,” Gathers told ESPN’s Paul Biancardi, who broke the news. “A year ago he was recruiting me and I didn’t think much of it, until I saw how they played on television and how much success they were having.
“I can’t wait to play in New York. Watching the movie ‘He Got Game’ got me really excited about playing there.”
The Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, Gathers averaged 20.7 points, 16.2 rebounds, 3.9 blocks, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals during the 2010-11 season.
He led Riverside to a 33-6 record this season and its second consecutive Class 2A state championship. He was selected the Louisiana Class 2A All-State Player of the Year in 2010.
Gathers led the Nike EYBL in rebounding at 12.2 per game and will add a much needed rugged frontcourt presence to the Big East school.
“That’s what I have been doing since I started playing,” he told ESPN. “It’s my specialty.”
A source with direct knowledge said Gathers was attracted to the fact that St. John’s has three coaches with NBA coaching experience in Gene Keady (Raptors), Mike Dunlap (Nuggets) and Rico Hines (Warriors).
The source said Gathers also cemented his relationship with 2011 St. John’s commits Maurice Harkless, JaKarr Sampson and Sir’Dominic Pointer by playing in the IS8 league.
“He gained an appreciation for New York and bonded with other kids,” the source said.
St. John’s is also involved with 2012 point guard Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony, power forward Amile Jefferson of Philadelphia Friends Central, shooting guard Darrick Wood of Newark NIA Prep and shooting guard Katin Reinhardt of Mater Dei (Calif.).
In other St. John’s news, onetime commit Jevon Thomas, a 2012 point guard, is now listing St. John’s, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Florida State, Penn State and Washington.
“I’m open right now,” Thomas said by phone. ” I want to wait to see who contacts me after tomorrow [at the End of Summer Classic at Albright College].”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.