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Loyola Marymount to unveil Hank Gathers statue outside arena

Hank Gathers
Hank Gathers poses before practice at the university’s gym on Feb. 15, 1990.
(Douglas C. Pizac / Associated Press)

Loyola Marymount plans to unveil a statue of Hank Gathers this month to mark the 30th anniversary of the school’s run to the Elite Eight after his fatal collapse on the court.

The statue will debut outside Gersten Pavilion on Feb. 29, before the Lions’ last home game of the season against San Francisco. Former coach Paul Westhead and members of the 1989-90 team will attend and be honored at halftime.

Gathers’ No. 44 jersey was retired by the school in 2000. The entire team was inducted into LMU’s Hall of Fame in 2005. He was the second player in NCAA history to lead the nation in both scoring and rebounding in the same season.

On this, the 25th anniversary of the death of Hank Gathers, near midcourt in Gersten Pavilion at Loyola Marymount, before a packed house and during yet another LMU basketball victory rampage, we shall leave it to Erik Spoelstra to summarize the moment.
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The statue was created by Rotblatt-Amrany, the same studio that designed statues at Staples Center and Michael Jordan’s statue outside Chicago’s United Center. Gathers’ mother, Lucille, and other family members were able to view the statue’s creation in progress.

Gathers collapsed on March 4, 1990, in a West Coast Conference Tournament game. He was taken to a hospital where he died at age 23. The rest of the tournament was canceled and the Lions were awarded the league’s NCAA Tournament bid because they had won the regular-season title. They went on to reach the Elite Eight before losing to eventual national champion UNLV.

Gathers’ autopsy showed he had a heart muscle disorder.


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