The Loyola Marymount men’s basketball program unveiled a statue of late basketball star Hank Gathers and wore throwback uniforms on Saturday afternoon to mark the 30th anniversary of the school’s run to the Elite Eight following his fatal collapse on the court.
Gathers was just the second player in NCAA history to lead the country in both scoring and rebounding in the same season, averaging 32.7 points and 13.7 rebounds during his junior year in 1988-89 season. He was then in the running for national player of the year honors during his senior year — and was a projected NBA lottery pick — when he collapsed in a West Coast Conference tournament game on March 4, 1990.
Gathers was taken to the hospital where he died at age 23. An autopsy revealed he had a heart muscle disorder.
The rest of the WCC tournament was cancelled, and Loyola Marymount was awarded the conference’s automatic NCAA tournament bid by virtue of its regular-season title. The Lions set a tournament record for points by one team in an 149-115 win over Michigan in the second round and reached the Elite Eight, where they lost to eventual national champion UNLV.
Gathers’ No. 44 was retired by Loyola Marymount in 2000, while the entire 1989-90 team was inducted into the Lions Hall of Fame in 2005.
The white throwback uniforms worn in Saturday’s 69-67 loss to San Francisco, meanwhile, were an exact replica of what Gathers’ and the Lions wore during that fateful season. They featured a crimson wordmark outlined with light blue, as well as light blue numbers outlined with crimson.
The jersey and shorts were trimmed with those same colors, while the latter featured an enlarged LMU logo on the left leg. The only discernible difference between the two sets is the manufacturer, as the Lions were outfitted by Champion in the 1980s and 1990s rather than the current supplier in adidas.
Check out more photos of the throwback uniforms below:
Photos via @lmulions on Twitter.