The school that gave us Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble has also given us Anthony Ireland. We just haven't noticed. For four years, Ireland has played on the same Gersten Pavilion basketball court at Loyola Marymount where Gathers and Kimble became a national force in Paul Westhead's shoot-without-conscience offense. On the night of March 4, 1990, Gathers collapsed and died of a heart condition on the court. In his honor, his friend, the right-handed Kimble, shot his first free throw of each ensuing game left-handed. They all went in. Without Gathers, the Lions made it to the NCAA Elite Eight, beating Michigan along the way, 149-115, in a game as memorable as any in college basketball history. Westhead's Lions never saw a shot they didn't like. Defense was an asterisk. They became America's basketball story. Books were written, movies made. The little West Coast Conference school, located within an Albert Pujols home run of the Pacific Ocean, had made a national splash. Quickly, it faded away. LMU has not been back to the NCAA tournament since. It has won 20 games or more in a season only once since, Ireland's sophomore season of 2011-12. Most current LMU students weren't even born yet when Gathers went down, in the place they now call Hank's House. Ireland was born 18 months after Gathers died. Last Friday night, in an 80-69 loss at Pepperdine, the 5-foot-10 senior guard from Waterbury, Conn., symbolically joined the Gathers-Kimble-Westhead legacy. He passed the 2,000-point career mark, and the four players in front of him each played all or part of their careers in the Westhead system. Gathers is the unreachable leader with 2,490 points, followed by Terrell Lowery (2,201), Forrest McKenzie (2,060) and Kimble (2,010).
Anthony Ireland missed out on glory
Los Angeles Times | Feb 7