Ricardo Gathers commits to St. John's

Ricardo Gathers, the No. 43 overall player in the ESPNU 100, committed to coach Steve Lavin and St. John's over LSU, Syracuse, Texas and Arizona on Saturday.

"I picked St. John's because of the coaching staff and I liked the way Coach Lavin communicated with me throughout the process," said The Laplace (La.) Riverside power forward. "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 6-foot-7, 240-pounder will be a perfect fit in the rugged Big East. He is a tremendous rebounder who can clear out space for himself to score on drop-off passes or put-backs. Gathers has also become adept at posting up with his back to the basket, welcomes contact and has shown the explosiveness to dunk on opponents.

While he is happy to be on a team that traps, presses and will allow him to score in the paint, his biggest asset will be his rebounding. Gathers is one of the very best in the nation -- and he led the entire Nike EYBL in rebounding throughout the regular season -- and has the potential to be a double-double machine for the Red Storm.

"That's what I have been doing since I started playing," he said. "It's my specialty."

He is a master of leaping out of his area to snatch a rebound from his opponent or track down a loose ball and, once his vice-like hands are on it, it's over.

Gathers is Lavin's first commit in the 2012 class, but St. John's is also in pursuit of SF Kyle Anderson (Fairview, N.J./St. Anthony), PF Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia/Friends Central) and SG Darrick Wood (Washington D.C./Nia Prep).

Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.