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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Sports > Awards/Milestones

2019-2020 Boys Basketball Honors --

Player of the Year: Josh Gattling, Monticello

Mar 26, 2020

By Richard Ross - reporter/photographer

Josh Gattling is honored on Monticello's Senior Night for having reached the 1000-point career milestone the night before at Sullivan West. He is pictured with Coach Chris Russo and his grandparents Regina Gattling and Carl Graham.
story and photos

MONTICELLO -- “Once in a blue moon, there comes somebody like you.”
So sang Edie Brickell with words that could well have been written to describe Monticello senior Josh Gattling, the Sullivan County Democrat Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Gattling is being honored as such for the second consecutive year. A rarity indeed, he is that unusual amalgam of skills and character that make him a coach's dream as an uncanny player and floor leader, the relentless engine that helped drive Monticello to its best season during the 18-year watch of Coach Chris Russo in a season that ended a mere two points shy of the team's first Sectional title since 2002.
To know Josh Gattling is to appreciate not only his stellar game skills, but more importantly, his persona.
On the night when he scored 19 points to reach the vaunted 1000-point career milestone in a game against Sullivan West, Gattling was mobbed by his adoring teammates, hugged by his coach and grandmother and cheered by the fans in stands for not only his accomplishment, but for the person he is.
Smiling and proud of that unusual personal milestone, though he was, he remained humble. In fact, he put far more stock in the team's success than in his own. “I'd have traded that for a sectional championship for my team,” he says candidly now that the season is over.
Gattling had told Coach Chris Russo earlier in the year, “I want to score 1000 points, but I want to do it in the context of what we want to accomplish.”
Russo extols Gattling, “Josh is the kind of player who takes pride in himself and his community. He's worked very hard in the classroom to give himself better grades. On the court he was the consummate leader forever talking to kids, picking them up when they were down and getting on them when they weren't doing their best. He has that personality that everybody responds to. I haven't had a leader quite like him. He knew every time we played that we were going to get the other team's best and that everybody wanted to prove that they were as good as him or better. He had to be up to be that challenge every game, guard the other team's best player and be our best player defensively,” added Russo.
Gattling's unselfish attitude is a defining hallmark of his court presence and his overall bearing.
Skilled beyond measure in terms of his shooting ability, his stringent defensive verve, his vertical leap, focus, floor vision and unselfish play, Gattling brings to bear an impeccable character that commands the respect and awe of his teammates affording him a role as their coach on the floor, a motivator and a role model by virtue of his exemplary play, attitude and work ethic.
“I get up at four in the morning three or four days a week and go to the gym [Next Level Fitness] to lift weights, work on leg lifts and run,” Gattling said.
“There aren't a lot of kids that are willing to sacrifice like that,” averred Russo.
His strength and endurance enabled him to outlast and outmaneuver players during the most rigorous times of the games. He was the epicenter and most vital player on a stellar Monticello team that attained a 16-7 record, a blistering 8-2 mark in one of the toughest divisions, two commanding sectional wins and a herculean effort in the finals against New Paltz when Monticello overcame a third quarter drought with a fourth quarter surge behind Gattling's 15-point tsunami to tie the game and send it into overtime. The two-point loss notwithstanding, Gattling walked off the floor with a smile knowing and his teammates had done everything they could and had just missed the title by a hair's breadth.
“If we played them again, we'd win,” he says with that inimitble smile.
Gattling is candid about the expectations he and his teammates had from the get-go this year. “We returned 11 players and we grew up together. We put a lot of work in and developed a strong bond.”
Gattling was proud of the way the team brought the community together. His philosophy was simple: “Work harder than the competition and take advantage of their fatigue.” Gattling has lightning quick reflexes and agility coupled with an uncanny sense of the flow of the game. He uses his body with strength and poise to drive by players or to slash to the rim with lightning speed.
Gattling is forever looking for his teammates who has the best open looks when his own is compromised by the defense. In the early morning hours while most of us are still sleeping he is hefting weights, running, and working on leg lifts.
In the offseason he develops his upper body strength. Basketball is at the top of mind all year round... He understands that basketball is a moment-by-moment challenge. “I've learned to be patient,” he notes.
Watching him play is like observing a panther ready to strike with quickness and lethality. Gattling prepared assiduously for this season by playing with the Orange County Kings (a local AAU team), doing the summer league with Monticello, and even playing football in the fall to keep his competitive edge and conditioning.
As to the basketball team's success he avers, “I couldn't have asked for a better team.”
While some players were visibly shaken after the tough loss to New Paltz, Gattling took it in stride.
“I loved our success,” he says.
Next year it's on to Orange County Community College to study business and play basketball. “It's a great opportunity to prove myself and to play my game,” he added.
The season may be over but for Gattling basketball never ends. So before the restrictions about social distancing took hold, it was pick-up games and times in the gym practicing. Gattling is thankful for all the people who have helped him reach this high school zenith. That includes Coach Russo, his teammates, his AAU Coach Sal D'Angelo, his grandparents, the school and the community for all they have given him.
And we are thankful to him for giving us his best and a resurgent sense of pride in Monticello basketball. Chosen as the BCANY Player of the Year along with this honor, Gattling leaves behind a sterling legacy and has raised the bar for future players across the region to aspire to not only develop the skills he has manifested, but the character, poise and leadership that he has evinced. Congratulations to Josh Gattling, two-time Sullivan County Democrat Player of the Year and role model extraordinaire.

Josh Gattling Stats
1067 Career Points
2019-20: 473 points; 20.0 points per game. 4.0 defensive rebounds per game; 2.4 offensive rebounds per game. 4.2 assists per game; 88/138 Free throws (64%); 43 three-point shots; 128/272 two-point FG's (47%).
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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