|Height||6 ft 7|
|Born|| February 11, 1967|
|Died|| March 4, 1990 (age 23)|
Los Angeles, California
|High school:|| Dobbins Technical High School|
Eric "Hank" Gathers (February 11, 1967, in Philadelphia – March 4, 1990 in Los Angeles) was an American college basketball star at Loyola Marymount University who collapsed and died during a game. He originally played at the University of Southern California, but transferred with teammate Bo Kimble to LMU after his freshman year.
Gathers played prep ball with Kimble at Dobbins Technical High School in Philadelphia, with the pair leading the team to the Public League City championship in 1985. Both Gathers and Kimble were then recruited to the University of Southern California by Head Coach Stan Morrison and his top assistant, David Spencer. After Morrison and Spencer were fired following the 1985-86 season, Kimble and Gathers transferred together from USC to Loyola Marymount.
In the 1988-89 season, he became the second player in history to lead NCAA Division I in scoring and rebounding in the same season, averaging 32.7 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. Although he was unquestionably a strong NBA prospect, his statistics were to a degree inflated by the offense Loyola Marymount employed. LMU's coach at that time, Paul Westhead, had instituted an extraordinarily fast-paced game plan. On offense, the Lions took numerous three-point shots, and typically shot the ball within 10 seconds of gaining possession; their defense was a full court press designed to force their opponents into a frenzied up-and-down game. Loyola Marymount still holds the place in the NCAA record books for being involved in the five highest scoring games in Division I history.
Gathers, an avid fan of many sports, attended Roy Englebrecht and Bob Miller's Sportscasters Camps Of America on the campus of LMU in 1988 and 1989 as a student, in hopes of engendering a sportscasting career after his professional basketball career.
Gathers' first sign of weakness came on Saturday, December 9, 1989, when he collapsed during an LMU home game against UCSB.
He was found to have an abnormal heartbeat (exercise-induced ventricular tachycardia), and was prescribed a beta blocker. However, he felt that the medication adversely affected his play, and soon cut back on his dosage, against medical advice.
On Sunday, March 4, 1990, he collapsed again with 13:34 left in the first half of a West Coast Conference tournament semifinal game against Portland, just after scoring on an alley-oop dunk that put the Lions up 25-13. This time, he never got up. He was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. An autopsy found that he suffered from a heart-muscle disorder, cardiomyopathy.
As a result of Gathers' death, the 1990 WCC tournament was suspended, and Loyola Marymount was given the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament (as a #11 seed) due to its regular season championship. During LMU's subsequent run to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national champion UNLV, Gathers' teammate Bo Kimble (a right-handed player) shot his first free throw of each game left-handed in memory of Gathers, who, while naturally right-handed, was a poor free-throw shooter and had, for a time, attempted to shoot left-handed. He made all four attempts.
Gersten Pavilion, LMU's on-campus athletics facility, is known to Lions fans as "Hank's House", although that is not part of its official name. On January 29, 2005, members of Gathers' 1989-90 team, including Kimble, were inducted into the Loyola Marymount Hall of Fame during halftime of a 63-46 win over cross-town rival Pepperdine. Gathers' mother, Lucille Gathers Cheeseboro, also attended the ceremony. Furthermore, the student fan club on campus, "The ROAR," still wears Gathers' number 44 on their fan t-shirts each year.