Keith Gatlin

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Keith Gatlin
High Point Panthers
PositionAssistant coach
LeagueBig South Conference
Personal information
Born (1964-12-23) December 23, 1964 (age 54)
Newark, New Jersey
Listed height6 ft 3.75 in (1.92 m)
Listed weight170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High schoolD. H. Conley
(Greenville, North Carolina)
CollegeMaryland (1983–1988)
NBA draft1988 / Undrafted
Playing career1988–2001
PositionPoint guard / Shooting guard
Coaching career2008–present
Career history
As player:
1988–1989Tulsa Fast Breakers
1989Worcester Counts
1989Quad City Thunder
1989–1990Pensacola Tornados
1990–1991New Haven Skyhawks
1991–1992Greensboro City Gaters
1993–1996Brandt Hagen
1997–1998MTV Gießen
1998–2000Élan Chalon
2000–2001Al Riyadi Beirut
As coach:
2008–2009Veritas Academy
2009–2018Wesleyan Christian Academy
2018–presentHigh Point (assistant)
Career highlights and awards

Keith Larnell Gatlin (born December 23, 1964) is an American basketball coach and former professional player. He was one of the best players of the high school class of 1983, and committed to play college basketball at Maryland. After three seasons, Gatlin sat out one year during the 1986–87 season for academic reasons; he came back for his senior year in 1987–88. His 649 assists rank 3rd all-time for Maryland. After graduating from college, he went on to play professional basketball for 13 years, mainly in Europe: he led the German Bundesliga in scoring in the 1997–98 season and was named an All-Star both in Germany and France. After a 9-year experience as head coach of Wesleyan Christian Academy he was named assistant coach at High Point University.

High school career[edit]

Gatlin was born in Newark, New Jersey but later moved to the state of North Carolina: he lived in Grimesland, North Carolina[1] and attended D. H. Conley High School in Greenville. He soon entered the varsity basketball team, playing since 1980.[2] Under coach Shelley Marsh he became the best player of the team, and in his junior year he averaged 22 points per game.[3]

His senior year was his most successful: he averaged 25.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists,[3] 2 blocks and 2.5 steals.[4] His team finished the season with a 22-4 record.[3] Gatlin was considered one of the top guards of the 1983 class,[5] and at the end of the year he was named the North Carolina player of the year,[6] was selected in the Parade All-America Second Team and earned a spot in the McDonald's All-American Game. In the 1983 McDonald's All-American Boys Game he scored 8 points, shooting 3 for 6 from the field and 2 for 2 from the free throw line.[7] He also played in the 1983 Capital Classic in Atlanta, Georgia[3] where he scored 18 points on 5 for 12 shooting and 8 for 8 from the foul line.[8]

In his career at Conley he scored 1,612 points, with a 56% field goal percentage and shooting 92% on free throws, and he also averaged at least 6 assists per game in each season he played.[3]

College career[edit]

Gatlin was heavily recruited during his high school career, and received offers from 210 colleges;[4] he committed to Maryland in October 1982, choosing to major in radio and television.[3] He chose to wear jersey number 3[9] and in his freshman year he started 9 games out of the 32 he played, averaging 6.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 23.7 minutes per game: he recorded a season-high 19 points vs. Georgia Tech and 10 assists in the ACC championship final versus Duke, during which Maryland won the 1984 ACC Men's Basketball Tournament.[6] He ranked 6th in the ACC in assists, leading all freshmen in the conference.[6]

In his sophomore season Gatlin was named a starter by coach Lefty Driesell, and he improved in all statistical categories: in 30.6 minutes per game he averaged 8.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 6.0 assists. His 221 assists for the season were a new Maryland single-season record: during the game against Wake Forest on February 24, 1985 he surpassed former record holder John Lucas II, who had totalled 178 assists in the 1974-75 season.[6] On January 30, 1985 vs Virginia he had 13 assists, which became the new single-game record for Maryland.[6] On February 28, 1985 he scored a then career-high 28 points against Clemson with remarkable efficiency: he shot 14 for 15 from the field.[3] He started 35 of his 37 games.

Gatlin returned his junior year with a more important role within the team, since coach Driesell believed he was one of the key players for Maryland.[6] He averaged career-highs in points (10.2), rebounds (2.7) and assists (6.4); he had one of his best performances against North Carolina on February 20, 1986: in the final moments of the game, which went to overtime, he scored 2 free throws, securing Maryland's lead for a score of 75-72, and with 0:07 remaining he threw an inbound pass off the back of Kenny Smith, got the ball back and scored a layup, bringing the final score to 77-72.[10]

After the death of Len Bias, which happened after the end of the 1985–86 season, the Maryland program was in turmoil and several players were suspended for skipping class and having poor grades: Gatlin was one of them.[11] He was suspended for academic issues and missed the entire 1986–87 season, which was supposed to be his senior year in college basketball.

He came back to the team the following year, even though he had a smaller role: he became more of a scorer[12] but his overall playing time decreased, and he started only 10 of 21 games. He averaged 12.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 0.9 steals in 27 minutes per game. He was significantly efficient from the 3-point line, making 56 of his 113 attempts for a 49.6% shooting percentage.

In his 4 years at Maryland he averaged 8.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists, with totals of 1,087 points and 649 assists. His 649 assists were an all-time record for Maryland at the time,[12][13] and rank 3rd as of 2018.[14]

College statistics[edit]

1983–84 Maryland 32 9 23.7 .487 .762 1.6 4.6 0.6 0.0 6.2
1984–85 Maryland 37 35 30.6 .514 .862 1.9 6.0 0.7 0.1 8.3
1985–86 Maryland 32 30 33.2 .475 .784 2.7 6.4 0.8 0.2 10.2
1987–88 Maryland 21 10 27.0 .506 .496 .758 3.0 3.6 0.9 0.1 12.2
Career 122 84 28.9 .494 .496 .795 2.2 5.3 0.7 0.1 8.9

Professional career[edit]

Gatlin was automatically eligible for the 1988 NBA draft, but he was not selected by an NBA team. He was drafted in the second round of the 1988 CBA draft (18th overall) by the Rockford Lightning.[15] He played the 1988–89 CBA season with the Tulsa Fast Breakers and the Quad City Thunder: for Quad City he played 13 regular season games averaging 7.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists[16] and in 6 playoff games he averaged 7.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 20.8 minutes per game.[17]

He also joined the Worcester Counts in the World Basketball League; he then returned to the CBA and played again for the Quad City Thunder: in 5 games of the 1989–90 season he averaged 6.6 points, 1.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists[18] He then finished the season with the Pensacola Tornados, and in 4 playoff games he posted averages of 8.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists in 19.3 minutes per game.[19]

In 1990 he joined the New Haven Skyhawks of the United States Basketball League, and he was free throw percentage leader with .899 in 1991. He then transferred to the Greensboro City Gaters of the Global Basketball Association for the 1991–92 season. In 1993 he moved to Europe and joine German club Brandt Hagen, where he played until 1996. After one season in Greece with Panionios, he went back to Germany, this time signing for MTV Gießen: he was the top scorer of the Bundesliga for the 1997–98 season, averaging 23.3 points per game.[20] He was named an All-Star and he also won the 3-point shooting contest during the 1997 BBL All-Star Game. He scored a total of 2,761 points during his years in the Bundesliga.[21]

After the successful year in Germany he moved to France, where he joined LNB Pro A team Élan Chalon: in 30 games played he averaged 18.8 points (3rd in the league) in 1998–99[22] on 54.9% shooting while also averaging 2.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 34.5 minutes per game. He was one of the best assistmen in the league in 1999–2000 with an average of 5.0 per game,[23] and also recorded 15.9 points per game with a field goal percentage of 48.7% (90.3% from the free throw line), and added 3.2 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 33.9 minutes. These numbers earned him a selection in the All-Star team and in the All-Import 2nd team.[23] He then ended his career after playing one year for Al Riyadi in Beirut, Lebanon.

Coaching career[edit]

After retiring from professional basketball Gatlin started coaching, first as assistant coach at Greensboro Day School in Greensboro, North Carolina and in 2008 he was appointed as the head coach of Veritas Academy in Kernersville, North Carolina.[24] He then transferred to Wesleyan Christian Academy in July 2009.[24] During his time at Wesleyan he won two back-to-back NCISAA championships in 2013 and 2014; in July 2018 Tubby Smith chose him for the assistant coach position at High Point University.[25]


  • McMullen, Paul (2002). Maryland Basketball: Tales from Cole Field House. JHU Press.


  1. ^ Maryland 85–86 Media Guide, University of Maryland, 1985, p. 9.
  2. ^ Ridgley, Stan (February 13, 1980). "Southern Nash Defeated in Conference Tourney". The Wilson Daily Times. p. 17.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Maryland 85–86 Media Guide, University of Maryland, 1985, p. 15.
  4. ^ a b "Gatlin, Mannin Head Boys". Rocky Mount Telegram. March 22, 1983. p. 11.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Maryland 85–86 Media Guide, University of Maryland, 1985, p. 14.
  7. ^ "The Next 48 are up" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-01-29. 1983 game and rosters at page 69.
  9. ^ McMullen 2002, p. 108.
  10. ^ "COLLEGE BASKETBALL; MARYLAND UPSETS NORTH CAROLINA IN OVERTIME, 77-72". The New York Times. February 21, 1986.
  11. ^ McMullen 2002, p.107.
  12. ^ a b Novak, Thad (January 24, 2012). "Maryland Basketball: The Top 50 Players in School History - 18. Keith Gatlin". Bleacher Report.
  13. ^ "Individual Career Leaders". UMTerps.com. April 9, 2013.
  14. ^ Johnson, Lamar (July 3, 2018). "Who is the best point guard in Maryland basketball history?".
  15. ^ "Basketball CBA draft". The Salina Journal. August 25, 1988. p. 14.
  16. ^ Quad City Thunder 1987–2001, Quad City Thunder, 2001, p. 6.
  17. ^ "1988-89 Quad City Thunder Statistics". StatsCrew.com.
  18. ^ Quad City Thunder 1987–2001, Quad City Thunder, 2001, p. 9.
  19. ^ "1989-90 Pensacola Tornados Statistics". StatsCrew.com.
  20. ^ "Von Sarodnik, über Kämpf und Wendt zu Nowitzki und Wood - Alle Topscorer der Bundesliga-Historie" (in German). easycredit-bbl.de.
  21. ^ (in German) Die besten Erstliga-Scorer seit '75, in Sonderheft s.Oliver BBL Saison 2000/2001, DSV Deutscher Sportverlag GmbH, 2000, page 54.
  22. ^ "France » ProA » Season 1998-1999". Eurobasket.com.
  23. ^ a b "France » ProA » Season 1999-2000". Eurobasket.com.
  24. ^ a b Durham, Andy (July 14, 2009). "Keith Gatlin to High Point Wesleyan". greensborosports.com.
  25. ^ "Keith Gatlin Named HPU Men's Basketball Assistant Coach". highpointpanthers.com. July 12, 2018.

External links[edit]