Sunday, January 21, 2007

'He is the most unsung player in the Northern Region.'
Richard Gore's hustle has made him a favorite in the locker room and unknown to scouts.
By BJ Koubaroulis
The Connection Newspapers
Jan. 17, 2007

Richard Gore is used to it: the hustling, the scoring, the rebounding, the bleeding, the winning, the respect from his teammates and the lack of it from everyone else. The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Herndon senior basketball player has cruised through four years of basketball excellence, including cutting down the nets after district and region tournament title games and finishing second in the state in 2006, only to be ignored by opposing coaches, collegiate scouts and newspapers. He’s done it all with an infectious smile that has made him “the most important player on the team. Bottom line,” said Herndon senior forward Danny Jones. “If we don’t have Richard, maybe we don’t have as many wins as we do,” said Jones. “When he is in the game he pushes the tempo and he always pushes us.”“He is the most unsung player in the Northern Region,” said Herndon coach Gary Hall of Gore. “He is a Player of the Year candidate in our district and a first team all-region player and I guarantee you, if you ask any coach to name the top 15 players in the region, Richard will not be one of those names.”

DESPITE BEING the second leading scorer on a Herndon team that has taken over sole possession of first place in the Concorde District (5-0) with a nearly flawless 11-1 record this season, Gore has remained a relative unknown.Collegiate scouts show up to sell their programs to his teammates, like the University of Mary Washington scout wooing the 6-foot-6 Jones following Herndon’s win over Westfield on Friday and the countless scouts that flirted with McDonald's All-American Scottie Reynolds (Villanova) during last year's run to the state final. Still, those scouts never seem to walk Gore’s way. "He is the heart and soul of our team. All he wants to do is win," said Hall.Gore, a lanky yet muscular athlete who plays with reckless abandon and the kind of hustle that can't be coached, has quietly pushed Herndon back into contention a year after falling short in the state finals.“We all got our roles,” said Gore. “Not a lot of people are going to get out and do the dirty work. A lot of people are scared to get hurt. I like to get on the floor and get after the loose balls.”

GORE IS SECOND on the team in points per game with 13.1 and second in rebounding with 8.3 per game. “He does so many things. Things that don’t show up in this book,” Hall said as he looked at his stat sheet. “What is he? He doesn’t have a position. He’s a basketball player.”He is also second in assists (51) and second in total rebounds (99). Gore is tied for first in freethrow percentage among starters and is tied for first in field goal percentage (62.3-percent).“Any time you need anything, Richard is the one to talk to and on the court when you are feeling down, Richard is the one right there to shake your hand and get you right up and his energy level is just amazing,” said senior point guard C.J. Glenn.Ask Gore about scouts and attention and he'll redirect."The sky is the limit," said Gore of this year's squad. "I see us going back to states and this time I think we are going to be victorious."