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December 17, 2011

City of Palms: Gathers, Muhammad rule

MORE: City of Palms preview

FT. MYERS, Fla. - Always known as a blue collar player, four-star forward Ricardo Gathers had to put in a couple overtime shifts to lead his Reserve (La.) Riverside team to a win over Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard's. After he finished the job, he spoke to Rivals.com about his recruitment.

Gathers was set to play his college ball in the Big Apple under Steve Lavin for St. John's, but the early signing period came and went without Gathers' signature.

"I'm just trying to reassess where I want to go," Gathers said. "I want to look at my options. I just committed too early."

According to Gathers, he has plenty of options. He listed offers from Duke, N.C. State, Florida, LSU, St. John's, California, USC and Baylor. Coaches from Florida, LSU and St. John's (including head coach Steve Lavin) were spotted in the gym.

Gathers, who is 6 feet 7, 260 pounds, noted Baylor, North Carolina State, Duke, LSU and St. John's as the five schools recruiting him the hardest.

No visits have been set up yet, but Gathers does know what he will be looking for when the time comes.

"I want to be with a winner," he said. "I want to be with players who compete and play as a team."

In a 80-73 double-overtime winning effort Friday night, Gathers pounded home a game-high 26 points on 10-of-23 shooting, 1-of-2 from three, and 5-of-6 from the line. He also had 11 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, three steals and five turnovers.

Improving his free-throw shooting has been his post-summer focus and it has paid dividends. His right-handed jump hook to the middle was his best scoring move.

For Gill St. Bernard's, former Alabama commit and four-star 2013 prospect Jaren Sina had a tough night. He scored 19 points and had nine assists and eight rebounds, but he also had eight turnovers, shot 5-of-24 from the field and 3-of-18 from behind the arc.

BISHOP GORMAN ESCAPES; MUHAMMAD THINKING

One of the favorites to win the City of Palms Classic, Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman was fortunate to win its first game. Pompano Beach (Fla.) Blanche Ely left a game winning shot in the lane on the front rim at the buzzer giving Bishop Gorman a 58-57 win.

As expected, the top gun for Bishop Gorman was Rivals150's No. 1 prospect Shabazz Muhammad who put up a game-high 27 points on 8-of-22 shooting from the field, 1-of-3 from three and 10-of-13 from the line. He also had a team-high seven rebounds, one assist, two blocks, two steals and four turnovers.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound lefty also had some interesting comments about his recruitment. He told Rivals.com that Duke, Kentucky, UCLA and UNLV are the four schools that stand out to him and that UCLA's struggles are affecting his recruitment.

"It affected it when UCLA was losing early," Muhammad said. "It had me thinking how I'd fit in. It's tough. I don't want to go to a school on the down turn. But I think they can turn it around."

Muhammad's brother Rashad Muhammad is also a high-major recruit out of the 2013 class. The younger Muhammad had seven points on 3-of-9 shooting from the field, 0-of-2 from three and 1-of-2 from the line to go with three rebounds, four assists, one block, two steals and three turnovers.

Muhammad is currently considering offers from Texas A&M, Maryland, UTEP, SMU, USC and Colorado and interest from Connecticut, UCLA and UNLV. He plans to visit Connecticut, Texas A&M and Maryland in the near future.

Highly touted freshman Stephen Zimmerman logged 10 minutes of playing time where he scored two points on 1-of-2 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, blocked one shot, had one steal and one turnover.

Zimmerman listed offers from UNLV, UCLA, Kansas, Connecticut, Arizona, Oregon and Oregon State.

Stanford recruit Rosco Allen had a tough night making only 1-of-10 shots for a total of four points. He did grab six rebounds.

UNLV recruit Demetris Morant scored six points on 3-of-4 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, dished out five assists and blocked five shots before fouling out.

Amongst all the prominent prospects, it was 2014 guard Noah Robotham who hit the game winning three-pointer for Bishop Gorman with 10 seconds left in the game. That wasn't the only shot, Robotham hit. He made 5-of-5 shots from the field and 2-of-2 from behind the arc for 12 points on the night.

Oregon commitment Ben Carter has been out of action for the last month with a stress fracture in his foot. He is expected to be in action for Bishop Gorman for the Beach Ball Classic after Christmas.

Guard Benji Bell had a strong game for Blanch Ely. He controlled the pace of the game and had a team high 16 points on 4 of 8 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 from the line.

On the inside 2013 prospect Kahlil Thomas had a major impact on the game. His shot-blocking prowess resulted in five blocks to go along with 11 rebounds and eight points on 4-of-9 shooting. With his strong motor and high level athleticism, Thomas looks the part of a blossoming high major prospect.

MONTVERDE ROLLS

Ole Miss commitment Anthony Cortesia led Montverde (Fla.) Academy to a 55-42 win over Richmond (Calif.) Salesian High School. A wiry 6-foot-9 skilled forward, Cortesia went for a game high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from the arc while also grabbing nine rebounds.

Future SEC partner Michael Frazier, who is committed to Florida, supported Cortesia with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Frazer only hit 6-of-18 from the field and missed all five of his three-point attempts, though.

The only double digit scorer for Salesian was 2013 four-star Jabari Bird who netted 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field. He also led his team with five rebounds.

Montverde star Kasey Hill was inactive due to a two-game suspension after being kicked out of his last game.



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