A number of high-school athletes throughout the state signed national letters of intent on Wednesday, the first day of the weeklong early signing period. One notable basketball star did not.
Riverside Academy senior Ricardo Gathers announced late Tuesday he had de-committed from St. John’s and would wait until the spring to make a decision about his future.
“I have recently realized that because the decision I make in choosing a university is one that will greatly impact my future, I must be 100 percent sure of the choice I make,” Gathers said in a written statement. “I plan to devote time to analyzing all prospective scenarios and seriously considering how my decision will affect not only my basketball dreams and my education, but also how my decision will affect my family and those around me.”
The regular signing period for basketball prospects is April 11-May 16.
Prospects who have already made commitments generally sign during the early signing period.
Gathers has not ruled out signing with St. John’s in the spring, but plans to consider other schools as well.
“It’s been a process for a little while,” Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said. “He just wants to make sure wherever he goes, it’s the right decision. He kind of felt like he rushed into his decision a little bit prematurely. He wants to take this time and just really focus and think about where he wants to go.”
Gathers, a 6-foot-7 forward, is the most touted basketball recruit to come out of Louisiana since Greg Monroe, who chose Georgetown as a senior at Helen Cox in 2008.
Gathers earned Louisiana’s Mr. Basketball award as a junior, averaging 20.7 points, 16.2 rebounds and 3.9 blocked shots, and leading Riverside to its second straight Class 2A state title.
Listed by ESPN as the nation’s No. 30 prospect, Gathers has been a top target of LSU.
Wednesday’s developments bring the Tigers back into play.
“Any time you have a kid in-state, LSU’s going to be a large attraction for them because it’s the state school,” said Byrd, a former LSU quarterback. “I know the coaching staff up there has done a really good job recruiting Ricardo.”
Gathers committed to St. John’s on July 30, choosing the Red Storm over LSU, Texas, Arizona and Syracuse.
“When a kid his age goes to New York City, you see all the bright lights,” Byrd said. “I think that - combined with all the pressure of everybody hounding him - probably had something to do with his committing earlier than what he wanted.”
Several local athletes celebrated the start of the early signing period by donning the colors of their future schools and signing their names on the dotted lines.
Parkview Baptist baseball players Russell Reynolds and Colin Rodgers signed with LSU and Auburn, respectively. Teammate Cole Wilson signed with Nicholls State.
Clinton resident Hunter Devall, who attends Centreville Academy in Mississippi, also signed with LSU.
Other baseball players to sign were Catholic High’s Alex Tucker (Nicholls), Denham Springs’ Kyle Cedotal (Southeastern Louisiana), Zachary’s Tanner Hebert (Louisiana-Monroe) and Jameson Fisher (Southeastern), Central Private’s Seth Stevens (Nicholls) and Livonia’s Mason Klotz (Southeastern).
St. Amant softball player Gabby Felps signed with Louisiana-Lafayette. Parkview volleyball player Fayette Adelaja signed with Purdue. University High’s Coleman Wahlborg signed to play tennis with ULL.
Dutchtown pitcher Jacob Waguespack is expected to sign with Ole Miss on Thursday, and infielder Troy Lewis is set to sign with Coastal Carolina.