Another critically important day for Baylor's men's basketball team has arrived in the form of National Signing Day for the spring signing period. Men's basketball, for those unaware, is different from football in that it has two signing periods for high school seniors-- one in the fall and one in the spring. Three members of Baylor's 2012 class signed in the fall signing period: PG L.J. Rose, C Isaiah Austin, and PF/C Chad Ryhoek. Ricardo Gathers, the lone remaining member of that class, can sign at any point today and formally end the class.
Baylor's Rivals site, SicEmSports.com, is reporting now that Gathers won't sign today, but it is not because he has decommitted. Gathers' HS, Riverside Academy, is closed this entire week for the Easter holiday and will not reopen until Monday morning. Jake Shaw of SicEmSports says he will sign at that point. I don't particularly like this news since it coincides with message board rumors from LSU fans this morning saying that Gathers is wavering on his commitment, but every other indication we have, including a statement from his HS coach earlier this week that Gathers is 100% sold on Baylor, says he's still coming our way. I'm probably being paranoid to fear that he won't, but such is the life of a Baylor fan. Either way, it looks like we're going to have to wait a few days to finish off this class, and I'll keep you updated as more information becomes available. u
Gathers, who committed to Baylor on February 6, 2012, is the #36 recruit in the country according to ESPN's recruiting rankings. His ESPNU profile lists him at 6-7, 240 pounds, but he has told Baylor's various recruiting services recently that he is closer now to 6-8, 255. His coach in Louisiana reportedly described him as a more athletic Thomas Robinson (Kansas's star PF this year), but I prefer to think of him as a rich man's Quincy Acy. I certainly don't mean that as a slight to Acy at all; I just see the same instincts in Gathers that we came to love in Acy, and I think Gathers will come to Baylor a much more complete player overall. Scouting reports praise his rebounding, something you don't often hear from a HS star, and his mean streak. You won't find a more vicious dunker anywhere in the 2012 class. They also praise his core strength and athleticism. Where Isaiah Austin and Perry Jones III came to Baylor needing to fill out their bodies considerably, Gathers comes as a largely-finished athletic project. It is his basketball skills that will need more work: things like developing a mid-range jumper, defending athletic shooters, and handling the ball. From everything I've read, he has the physical tools to excel in these areas, he just hasn't had to in the past.
Don't just take it from me, though, here is a scouting report from DraftExpress.com about Gathers that highlights his strengths and identifies his weaknesses. Here is another behind the paywall of ESPN Insider for those that have subscriptions.