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Friday, July 10, 2020

Sports > High School >> Basketball

2018-19 Boys Basketball Player of the Year: Monticello's Josh Gattling

Mar 18, 2019

By Richard A. Ross - reporter/photographer

Monticello's Josh Gattling averaged 18 points per game this season. He's scored 591 points in his high school career, and as a junior, returns to lead the Panthers in 2019-2020.
MONTICELLO -- He's a coach's dream and opposing teams' greatest nemesis; a consummate team leader with an inordinate degree of talent. And on top of all that: a ferocious defender blessed with a vertical leap that defies gravity. Rare indeed it is to find all of that in one player who also embodies superb character, humility and the relentless desire to constantly improve his game. So it is only natural that Monticello junior Josh Gattling has been selected as the unanimous choice as the 2018-19 Sullivan County Democrat Boys' Basketball Player of the Year.
In this, the third year of his varsity sojourn, his best to date, Gattling showed time and time again his intensity at both ends of the floor and his remarkable poise that was never sullied no matter what the situation.
That clutch play was no better demonstrated than with his game-winning free throws in the cathartic 57-55 win against Goshen in the Section IX Class A quarterfinals wherein he swished two from the stripe amidst the din and cacophony created by the Gladiators' fans who were desperately trying to unhinge him.
With nearly flawless mechanics honed by hundreds of free throws over countless practices, Gattling came through and propelled his team forward to the semifinals.
“He's such a unique player, notes Monticello Coach Chris Russo. “He's a team leader and our best defender. He lifts everybody up and he shoulders immense weight. He brings far more to our team than just his skills and talent. He brings his great spirit, his smile and joy,” says Russo.
Reflecting on this past season in which the Panthers finished 12-10 (4-4) Gattling considers his shooting and defensive verve as his greatest areas of improvement. “My shooting really came a long way. Earlier in my career I was more of a passer,” he notes, referring to his younger days playing first on modified in seventh grade, then on junior varsity in eighth grade before coming up to varsity as a freshman.
“My assignment is usually to guard the other team's best player,” which he does assiduously regardless his opponent's size, strength or speed. Gattling traces his basketball roots to the encouragement rendered by his grandfather Carl Graham who is now coaching at Sullivan County Community College but used to coach at Liberty.
“I think I was about eight when I started in Liberty youth hoops and had Jason Semo as my coach,” Gattling said. Mindset is so important and he deploys that when other teams try to take away his inclinations.
“I love it when they concentrate on me because then I can better involve my teammates. We trust one another so much,” Gattling added. Russo has encouraged Josh to maintain his poise when teams try to restrict him with a box and one or other defensive arrays. “Do your job and let everyone else do theirs,” he counsels.
Gattling is the epitome of a team player. Unselfish and savvy with great floor vision, he looks to find the open man with deft passing and lightning quick reflexes. Needless to say family support has been a big factor in his growth and development. He credits his grandfather and grandmother Regina Gattling as well as Coach Russo's wife Christine.
The Russo's quip that Josh is the closest thing to an adopted son. Gattling hopes to play at the next level but that decision about where that might be is still far off. Right now it's next season that is on his mind.
As to his selection as Player of the Year he averred, “This is a one-of-a-kind honor. I was so surprised,” he said with that inimitable grin. “I want to continue to lead to the best of my ability,” he added with conviction.
Aside from a brief hiatus after injuring his ankle in the win against Liberty in the BCANY vs. Cancer Classic, Gattling has never missed a game. Consistency, unbridled fervor and with profound love for his teammates, coach and the game itself, Josh Gattling shines as an exemplar of greatness in his skills, in his character and in his positive influence on younger players like his court cohort sophomore Jordan Ruggiero.
“I've never had a player who was a role model like him,” avers Russo.
It is impressive to say the least. Congratulations to Josh Gattling on his outstanding year, the next step in a career that is making the words “Panther Pride” resonate more strongly than ever.

Gattling's career file
2018-19: 379 points; 18.0 points per game; 6.0 rebounds per game; 4.0 assists per game; 2.5 steals per game; 37 three pointers made (31%); 76/115 free throws (66%).
2017-18: 153 points; 7.7 points per game; 6.5 rebounds per game; 4.5 assists per game; 2.1 steals per game; 11 three-pointers made (22%); 32/66 free throws; (48%).
2016-17: 59 points; 3.3. points per game; 2.9 rebounds per game; 2.4 assists per game; 0.8 steals per game; 16 three-pointers made (13%); 17/27 free throws (63%).
Career totals to date: 591 points; 9.7 points per game; 3.6 assists per game; 5.1 rebounds per game; 1.8 steals per game; 50/184 three-pointers made (27%); 125/208 free throws (60%).

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