Wednesday afternoon it was reported by the Waco Tribune-Herald that Baylor rising senior forward Rico Gathers Sr. was arrested on a charge of theft under $500 following an shoplifting incident at a Waco Walmart June 1. According to the story Gathers shoplifted items from the store, and following the incident an employee provided law enforcement with video of Gathers leaving the store.
A warrant was issued for his arrest, with Gathers turning himself in and posting $1,000 bond.
A store employee told police that a man he recognized as Gathers placed two pillows, a tote bag, a water dispenser and a trash can in a shopping cart and left the store without stopping to pay for the items, according to an arrest affidavit.
The employee provided police with video from the incident two days later, telling police the items were valued at $171, the affidavit said.
Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said store employees had suspected Gathers of stealing items during previous visits to the store.
Gathers, who averaged 11.6 points and 11.6 rebounds per game as a junior, was a first team All-Big 12 selection and was also named to the conference’s all-defensive team. Gathers finished the season with 16 double-doubles, a mark that led the Big 12 and ranked among the best in the country.
According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, Baylor head coach Scott Drew released a statement Wednesday that the program was still in the process of “gathering the facts” regarding the arrest and would have no further comment at that time.
Kaminsky has greatly outperformed expectations he had entering the season, even though he was a preseason all-american pick. He’s been sensational, leading the Badgers in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks and steals. Not bad for a guy that averaged 10 minutes as a sophomore.
Jahlil Okafor, Duke (17.6 ppg, 9.2 rpg)
Okafor is an easy pick as well, as he was the most dominating offensive force in the country this season. To get an idea of just how good he can be, think about this: He’s not just a poor defender, he can be downright awful at times, and yet he’s going to finish the season as a consensus first team all-american and the runner-up to Kaminsky in the Player of the Year voting. Not bad.
D’Angelo Russell, Ohio State (19.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.2 apg)
If Kaminsky has been the nation’s best player and Okafor has been the most dominating offensive force, than Russell has to be the nation’s most entertaining player. He can take over a game with his ability to score, and he throws some absurd passes in transition. Can he be this year’s Shabazz Napier in the NCAA tournament?
Jerian Grant, Notre Dame (16.8 ppg, 6.7 apg)
The Irish have no business being a top ten team this season, but they are because Grant has been incredible. Notre Dame has one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country, and it all centers around Grant’s ability to make plays off the dribble and in ball-screen actions. He’s better than anyone else in the country at making his teammate’s better.
Cauley-Stein’s numbers don’t measure up to anyone else on the first team, but what he does best doesn’t necessarily show up in the scorebook. The Wildcats are downright dominant on the defensive end of the floor, and Cauley-Stein is the engine that drives them. He’s the best perimeter and the best interior defender in the country all at the same time.
NBCSPORTS.COM’S SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
Delon Wright, Utah (14.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.1 spg): Wright did so much for Utah this season, and while his numbers were impressive, it was his defense and ability to understand his strengths offensively that were most important to the Utes.
Kris Dunn, Providence (15.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 7.4 apg): The only reason Dunn isn’t in the conversation for National Player of the Year is that he turns the ball over too much. He was completely dominant at times this season.
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma (17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg): Hield has a rep for being one of the nation’s best defenders, dating back to his freshman season. Now he’s also one of the best wing scorers.
Rico Gathers, Baylor (11.6 ppg, 11.7 rpg): Gathers is the nation’s best rebounder, an improving scorer on the block and a critical component for arguably the nation’s most surprising team.
Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse (17.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.5 bpg): He won’t get to showcase his ability this March, but there was not a more improved player in the country than Christmas this season.
NBCSPORTS.COM’S THIRD TEAM ALL-AMERICANS
T.J. McConnell, Arizona (9.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, 2.1 spg): McConnell’s numbers are nowhere near as impressive as the other lead guards here, but if you watched Arizona play over the last two months, you understand just how important he was to that team’s success.
Melo Trimble, Maryland (16.1 ppg, 3.1 apg): Maryland is ranked 31st in KenPom. Yet, they’re a top ten team that’s going to be a top four seed because they’re 11-0 in games decided by six points or less. Trimble is their ‘closer’. He earned this spot.
Justin Anderson, Virginia (13.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 48.5% 3PT): Anderson was in the mix for first team all-american when he broke his finger. He deserves recognition despite missing time.
Bobby Portis, Arkansas (17.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg): I was called out by an Arkansas assistant coach for having Bobby Portis ranked 62nd in our top 100 players list in the preseason. That coach was right.
Seth Tuttle, Northern Iowa (15.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.3 apg): I’m fully on the Tuttle bandwagon. He’s a low-post scorer with three point range, the ability to put the ball on the floor and terrific vision. He’s Frank Kaminsky 2.0.
Weekly Awards: Karl Towns shows us his best, Oklahoma State back in the Big 12 convo
Kentucky put together a pair of solid wins this week, knocking off Georgia at home before going into the O-Dome and taking Florida’s best shot before beating the Gators. Towns, in those two games, played his best basketball since he arrived in Lexington, averaging 17.0 points, 10.5 boards, 3.0 assists and 2.0 blocks in the two wins.
It’s not just the numbers for Towns, because if he were consistently playing 31 minutes every night on a team where the offensive was built around him, he could probably put up numbers like that for an entire season. It’s the little things that he showed an ability to do, like a deft over-the-head pass for a dunk out of a double-team or reading a defender trying to anticipate how Towns would use a screen. We know Towns can block shots and we know that he can get to the offensive glass. We’ve even seen him do a decent job switching onto guards while defending ball-screens.
If there’s a knock on Kentucky this season, it’s that they don’t score all that well in half court settings. When Towns is making plays like that, the Wildcats are that much more dangerous.
THE ALL ‘THEY WERE GOOD, TOO’ TEAM
Marcus Posley, St. Bonaventure: The Bonnies went 2-0 this week, and Posley is the one to thank. He hit buzzer-beating game-winners in wins over No. 18 VCU and Davidson.
Joseph Young, Oregon: Young led the Ducks to wins over the Washington schools this week, averaging 30.5 points, 6.5 boards and 5.0 assists. He shot 22-for-37 from the floor and 7-for-14 from three, and suddenly, the Ducks are tied for third in the Pac-12, just two games behind Arizona and Utah.
Rico Gathers, Baylor: The Bears have won five of their last six games, including a pair of blowout wins against TCU and at West Virginia. Gathers had 31 points and 33 boards in those two wins.
Justise Winslow, Duke: Winslow went for 15 points and 10 boards in a win over Georgia Tech, following that up with 19 points and 11 boards in Saturday’s beatdown of Notre Dame. He’s now notched three straight double-doubles.
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga: In a pair of road wins for the Zags, Wiltjer was the best player on the floor, averaging 25.5 points and 8.5 boards.
Notables: Schadrac Casimir (Iona), Jamel Artis (Pitt), Jalen Cannon (St. Francis NY)
TEAM OF THE WEEK: Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Pokes landed a pair of critical wins this week, as they went into Texas and knocked off the Longhorns in overtime, following that up with a win over No. 8 Kansas at Gallagher-Iba Area. The Big 12 might be a bit overrated at this point, but there is no denying how much of a meat-grinder league play is in that conference. Winning two straight games against teams that could end up making the NCAA tournament — particularly when coming off of a loss — is huge. The wins also put Travis Ford’s club in a much better position in regards to the NCAA tournament.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
Virginia: The Cavaliers beat North Carolina and Louisville this week, solidifying their place at the top of the national rankings, but they also lost Justin Anderson in the process.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes bounced back from a three-game losing streak with blowout wins at Michigan and over No. 17 Maryland at home.
Boise State: The Broncos are suddenly in the bubble conversation and tied for first place (in the loss column) in the Mountain West after wins at Utah State and over San Diego State this week. They’ve won seven straight.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils beat arch rival Arizona at home on Saturday afternoon. It won’t be enough for them to get into the NCAA tournament picture, but a win over a rival can make a bad season worthwhile.
Harvard: The Crimson have now won four straight road games in Ivy League play, culminating with a win at Yale on Saturday night.
SET YOUR DVR
No. 11 Iowa State at No. 21 Oklahoma, Mon. 9:00 p.m.
After graduation claimed do-it-all point guard Pierre Jackson from last year’s Baylor team, many wondered if Kenny Chery– a Junior College transfer from State Fair Community College in Missouri — could fill the void. Scott Drew was going to give Chery the keys to the car, but could he drive it?
Chery answered that question in Baylor’s season-opening win against Colorado, and his performance tonight in a 67-62 win over Kentucky confirmed he’s more than capable to lead Baylor.
He led all scorers with 18 points on 8-15 shooting from the field, to go along with five assists to two turnovers. Moreover, he picked his spots well — nothing was ever forced. In the final minute, with Baylor clinging to a 63-61 lead, the Kentucky defensed sagged on Chery, and he drilled a 15-footer to make it a two-possession game and all but put the Wildcats away.
Chery aside, who would have thought Baylor could have realistically come away with a win tonight if Brady Heslip and Royce O’Neale would combine for a mere eight points on five shots? Heslip looked like he was in a funk the entire night. The cast up front consisting of Isaiah Austin, Cory Jefferson, and Rico Gathers were instrumental in the win, and neutralized Kentucky’s frontcourt.
The trio tallied 32 points and 27 rebounds between each other, and Austin turned aside five shots by himself. Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress were dominated by Gathers on the boards as he had 13 total rebounds, eight of which were offensive. For Kentucky to get out-rebounded 41-25 is simply inexcusable. For Alex Poythress to barely even show up — he picked up three fouls in six minutes — and John Calipari to receive all of two points from his bench is of serious concern.
Baylor will seemingly always have their skeptics. There is a stigma surrounding Scott Drew that he is a first-class recruiter, but still very much developing as a game coach. Things looked bleak for Drew and Baylor midway through the second half as Kentucky had a 50-41 lead after a Julius Randle dunk, but the Bears closed the game on a 26-12 run to earn the win.
Things don’t get much easier for Kentucky as their final four game of the non-conference portion of their schedule come against Boise State, North Carolina, Belmont, and Louisville. It’s hard to say Kentucky is in trouble, but there are holes in this team that Cal needs to fill — he has made this known several times during the first month of the season.
As for Baylor — a team that was a fringe Top 25 team in the preseason — they are looking like a legitimate Top 15 team with their only blemish a 74-67 loss to Syracuse at the Maui Invitational. They have the pieces with Chery running the show, and Isaiah Austin seemingly coming into his own as a force on the defensive end and improved offensive player.
While Drew has had considerable success at Baylor — he did make it to the Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012, this is arguably the best win in Drew’s career. There have always been questions about his in-game abilities, but he had Baylor more ready and prepared for the game tonight than Kentucky, and it showed. With wins over Kentucky, Dayton, and Colorado; that’s a pretty good looking resume for early December.