Only a few days after committing to the Baylor Bears basketball team, it seems like LSU's future is as bleak as ever. The reports seem to indicate that he had interest in LSU, but that interest wasn't mutual, or mutual enough for his liking. In a clearly football oriented state that produces many great athletes for the gridiron, Louisiana is on the other end of the spectrum for basketball.
Every couple of years, historically, it seems like there is a can't miss recruit. Recently, however, LSU has been missing them. It started perhaps in 2007 with LaceDarius Dunn going to Baylor as the best recruit from Louisiana. 2008 had Greg Monroe head up to Washington DC to play for Georgetown. The next few years, LSU was able to get the top talent, but it wasn't enough. Matt Derenbecker went to Dayton after his freshman year, while Eddie Ludwig and John Isaac have been role players for their careers.
The correlation seems to be that in the years LSU is at their worst, their talent from Louisiana also happens to be the worst. I think it's a fair opinion to have, but I don't think that tells the whole story. In other words, I don't think it's quite that simple.
While Trent Johnson has not done a good job at keeping the talent from Louisiana here, a simple glance at the starting line up tells a much happier tale.
Anthony Hickey- Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Andre Stringer- Jackson, Mississippi
Ralston Turner- Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Johnny O'Bryant- Cleveland, Mississippi
Justin Hamilton- Alpine, Utah/Iowa State
Every single player is from a state other than Louisiana. Now, looking back at recruiting numbers, they have been accurate. Louisiana, high level talent is somewhat few and far between. So doesn't it make sense that a coach for LSU should be looking elsewhere for talent, and not relying on a state that generally doesn't produce much basketball talent?
A good strategy might be to find players from other areas, and supplement his roster with the good but not great Louisiana talent.
Going to the present with Gathers, personally, I think the explanation for why he isn't in purple and gold is quite simple, really. Looking at the line up, it's unlikely that he's going to be given(and yes I mean given) a spot on the starting line up. It's more likely that JOB and Hamilton are both in better shape and further along in their careers. They will likely keep their spots for next year.
If anything, a decision to go to Baylor is probably a good move for a player like him, who's interested in college for a year and the NBA after that. Baylor, and coach Scott Drew, have done a good job developing forwards, and Perry Jones and Quincy Miller are likely lottery picks this year if/when they leave. Assuming that is what Gathers is interested in, Baylor is a good school to do that at.
You may be asking, why am I assuming that he wants to go pro ASAP. According to this Kentucky Sports Radio update, Gathers was waiting for an offer to go to Kentucky. Simply put, a player going to Kentucky is usually a sign that they intend to go pro early in their college career.
Knowing all that, it probably wouldn't work out well at LSU for Gathers. It's unlikely that he could come in off the bench and have the impact he needs to go straight to the NBA. Baylor, with their 3 open spots for a forward, will likely give him that place to showcase his talent.
This isn't meant just to defend Johnson, he's still got work to do with only 9 scholarship players for next year including 2012's only recruit Malik Morgan. It looks like LSU will have to be patient for now and see who else rounds out the 2012 class since I doubt it will stay at only a single player.