Situational Statistics: This Yearís Power Forward Crop June 14, 2010 Larry Sanders stacks up pretty well with Ed Davis at 1.03 PPP on 13 possessions per-game. Heís come a long way from his freshman year, and it shows in his situational statistics. His 55.3% shooting from the post (4th) is incredible considering how raw he was with his back to the basket when he got to VCU. He still has a ways to go, as his 0.421 PPP in jump shooting situations indicates his lack polish from the midrange, but couple his length and athleticism with his 1.421 PPP in finishing situations (3rd) and Sanders seems like a nice long-term option for a team with the time develop him. [Read Full Article] NBA Combine Interviews: Bledsoe, Alabi, Hayward, Sanders, Whiteside May 26, 2010
Analyzing the NBA Combine Measurements May 22, 2010 Larry Sanders' measurements (6-9 ľ without shoes, 7-5 ĺ wingspan, 9-4 standing reach) are eerily similar to those of DeMarcus Cousins (6-9 Ĺ, 7-5 ĺ, 9-5), minus 70 pounds (292 to 222). As one NBA assistant GM told usóďif you can put 20 pounds on that kid, he [can] be an absolute force in the paint.Ē [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/18/10 March 18, 2010 Jonathan Givony
Weíve watched the development of big man Larry Sanders from project to productive player with great interest since he first stepped foot on campus at VCU three years ago. While there is still quite a bit of work left to, itís tough not to feel like Sanders has made huge strides comparing where he started from.
Sanders has become a more prolific and efficient scorer this season, upping his per-40 averages by nearly 5 points, while increasing his 2-point percentages from 51 to 57%. His assist rate has nearly tripled, while his turnovers have fallen dramatically. Heís also fouling less, rebounding similarly and has improved his free throw percentage from 56 to 64%. As someone who only started playing organized basketball five years ago (in the 10th grade), itís notable to see him constantly continuing to improve.
Sandersí main intrigue continues to revolve around his extremely rare physical tools, as he is an excellent athlete with a freakishly long wingspan. His frame continues to fill out, but there is still plenty more he can do to continue to add strength, which is a big key for his development.
Running the floor is where Sanders might be able to contribute the most to an NBA team right off the bat. He has amazing speed in the open floor and is thus a terrific target for his guards to throw long outlet passes to in transition, regularly beating opponents down the court. Sanders is also an excellent finisher around the basket thanks to his length and quick leaping ability, ranking amongst the top players in the NCAA in this category according to Synergy Sports Technology.
Sanders is also fairly effective in the post at the Colonial conference level, although this part of his game looks a bit less likely to translate to the NBA at this point. He lacks the strength to establish and hold position deep in the paint, struggling to back his man down, and does not have the footwork or coordination to consistently take advantage of his superior quickness.
With that said, Sanders looks quite a bit more comfortable with the ball in his hands than he did a few years ago, at which point he simply wasnít able to anything but catch and dunk, and even that was a struggle at times. Heís starting to finish plays with his left hand a bit, pass out of double teams more effectively, and even pull off some rangy moves utilizing the amazing extension he gets around the rim to get his shot off. He obviously has a long ways to go, particularly with his ability to put the ball on the floor, but itís interesting to see these small, new flashes of ability, as its clear that the game has slowed down for him significantly.
Sanders went through a period of the season where he appeared to try and reinvent himself as somewhat of a perimeter shooter, something that didnít last very long. The results werenít very pretty, as he knocked down just 7 of his 38 jump-shots attempts on the year, often looking very rushed and off-balance and coming up with some very bad misses. The improvement he made as a free throw shooter this season may indicate that there is room to grow with this part of his game, though, which would be very beneficial to him long-term.
One place where Sanders doesnít seem to have made great strides this season is on the defensive end. His lack of strength (particularly in the lower body) makes it difficult for him to hold his ground in the post, and heís gotten pushed around quite a bit by the top big men in the CAA, such as Gerald Lee and Denzel Bowles.
His awareness and fundamentals leave something to be desired, as does his intensity level, as he isnít always as physical as he needs to be, not really using his body very well and appearing to lack a degree of toughness in his play. His shot-blocking production has fallen off each season, from 7.4 per-40p to 4.2 to 3.7 this year as well.
Sanders probably isnít strong enough to hold his own at the center position in the NBA at this point in time, but heís not skilled enough offensively or as reliable a perimeter defender as he would need to be to play the power forward position effectively, as he seems to struggle when being attacked off the dribble. Thatís why it may take him some time to adjust to the much higher level of competition heíll find amongst big men in the NBA, as despite the improvements he made this season, it not like he really dominated the CAA.
With that said, his tools on this end of the floor are simply amazing, and should allow him to develop into a solid defender if he gets the proper coaching and is willing to put the effort in.
Big men with Sandersí physical tools are not easy to come by these days, which is why some NBA team will likely be more than happy to work to develop him. Itís likely that he still has quite a bit of upside left to tap into when considering his late start and the fact that his body is a long ways from filling out.
Sanders looks like a good bet for a playoff team drafting outside the lottery that can afford to wait and isnít expecting immediate results, as he could develop into a solid rotation player down the road. Heíll have to be willing to put the work in, though, as heís still quite a ways away from being a finished product. His measurements should be interesting, as he came into VCU listed at 6-9, but is now listed at 6-11. [Read Full Article]
NCAA Weekly Performers, 1/15/10 January 15, 2010 Kyle Nelson
During his first two seasons at Virginia Commonwealth, junior Larry Sanders was part of Eric Maynor's supporting cast, often a defensive force who showed flashes of offensive ability. This season, now that Maynor is backing up Russell Westbrook in the NBA and Anthony Grant is coaching Alabama, Sanders has led Virginia Commwealth to a solid, though unspectacular, 11-4 start and has showcased his strengths and weaknesses as a future NBA player along the way.
As we have written about amply, Sanders has a tremendous physical profile. Standing 6'10 in shoes with a 7'6 wingspan, he has the size and the length to play either the power forward or center positions in the NBA. Athletically, he will be among the elite at the next level, boasting excellent explosiveness, mobility, and quickness for a player with his size. A significant question mark, however, surrounds his strength and frame. Though he has wide shoulders and looks capable of adding muscle in the future, he does not appear to have improved his frame substantially during his time in Richmond, which may make things difficult for him in the NBA at times.
On the offensive end, Sanders has expanded his game significantly, but he still is a very raw player who has a long way to go before being able to contribute consistently at the next level. Sanders averages 22.4 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted, a five point improvement over his average last season. Despite using more possessions than last season, his efficiency has increased considerably, largely due to the fact that he's getting to the free throw line 8 times per-40 minutes pace adjusted, and knocking down 66% (up from 56% last season) of his attempts.
Looking beyond the numbers, Sanders still has a ways to go. His footwork, while improved, remains very raw, and he continues to look hesitant at times after receiving the ball. Now battling more intense defensive pressure, and without the benefit of a terrific passer like Eric Maynor next to him, he isn't getting nearly as many open opportunities inside. His somewhat suspect touch around the basket certainly does not help matters, but neither do his still raw ball handling abilities and overall awareness.
Sanders is still most effective within 5 feet of the basket and while finishing in transition, catching and finishing or executing a simple move on his way to the hoop, where his combination of size, athleticism, and length put him in an elite class at the college level.
Interestingly, Sanders has relied more upon his face-up game this season, showing a part of his game that he hadn't really displayed in the past all that often. His ability to create is extremely raw at this point and would definitely be improved with better ball handling abilities, particularly with his left hand. He does not show much of a mid-range game outside of isolated, although intriguing, flashes, but this area of his game is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
More prevalent is his spot-up jump shot. He has already attempted 16 3-pointers this season, 16 more than he had previously in his career, and has also been taking some mid-range jumpers. While he's shown the ability to make a shot from time to time, it's safe to say he has room to improve in this area. He oftentimes falls away while shooting and kicks out his feet, both of which detract from his release's fluidity and consistency. While his suspect shot selection does not help matters, he does have a quick release, which combined with his length and size, could make him into a respectable spot-up shooter if he continues to improve his mechanics.
On the defensive end, Sanders is a tremendous presence due to his size, length, and athleticism, to the tune of 4.4 blocks and 7.6 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted. Sanders is an extremely good shot blocker, combining his incredible length, athleticism, and timing to alter a tremendous amount of shots over the course of the game. Though his tendency to gamble causes him to bite for fakes around the basket, there is no denying his ability as an anchor in the post, the kind of player that can alter a team's game plan by his presence.
That said, he still has a long way to go before being able to defend stronger and more versatile post players in the NBA. His lack of strength hurts him, but sometimes he looks passive when guarding his man. On the perimeter, he shows average lateral quickness, but his length helps tremendously in this area. His overall defense must continue to improve should he want to convince scouts that he has what it takes to contribute at the next level, which will in large part come down to how much strength he can add to his frame.
While Sanders has improved remarkably during his time at Virginia Commonwealth, he still has a long way to go before achieving his considerable potential. In the NBA, his lack of strength and fundamentals will certainly hold him back, and scouts will be monitoring his ability to improve in these areas. That said, 6'10 players with his length, athleticism, shot blocking abilities, and developing offensive skill sets are extremely rare, and usually get strong looks in the lottery. Sanders must assert himself in the CAA as the season moves on, and in the process show NBA scouts that he has what it takes to contribute sooner than later in the NBA. [Read Full Article] LeBron James Skills Academy Player Profiles July 13, 2009 -Larry Sanders- Another player that evokes some pretty strong reactions on first glance, Larry Sanders may have helped himself as much as anyone just by showing up for this camp. Measuring 6-10 in shoes, with a freakish 7-6 Ĺ wingspan and a frame that should put on weight, Sanders probably would have been a first round pick solely based on upside had he decided to enter the draft this year. Heís also a pretty athletic guy, as he showed repeatedly by running the floor and going well out of his area for impressive rebounds on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he was an incredible presence at times, changing absolutely everything around the basket just by putting his arms in the air. He needs to do a better job not biting on pump-fakes, but his potential in this area is obviously considerable. Offensively, Sanders is extremely limited at this point in time, looking mechanical in his movements and showing a very low-skill level. He did attempt some mid-range jumpers, but doesnít seem to have the greatest touch. [Read Full Article]
Blogging through the Conference Tournaments March 11, 2009 Besides Maynorís heroics in the first half, this game might be remembered more than anything for being the day that Larry Sanders burst onto the national radar screen. Sanders completely dominated this contest, pulling down an obscene 20 rebounds, blocking 7 shots and scoring 18 points. While his rebound and blocks numbers obviously stand out, this game was noteworthy as a showcase for the unbelievable amount of progress Sanders has made on the offensive end, at least compared to where he was a year ago. Once restricted entirely to being a catch and finish player within 2 feet of the basket, Sanders impressed with his ability to make basic moves in the post with his back to the basket, finish with authority through contact and even knock down an 18-foot jump-shot Ėthings he couldnít even dream of doing at this point last season. He still has a substantial amount of work to do before he can be considered ready to enter the NBA draft, but considering his physical tools and terrific upside, that doesnít seem to be as far-fetched as once thought. Heís already drawing comparisons to Theo Ratliff thanks to his ridiculous 7-7 wingspan and the way he changes the game on the defensive end and on the glass. Considering that heís likely to return for his junior season, weíll be back this fall with a more comprehensive breakdown of his all-around game. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 3/12/07 March 12, 2008 While teammate Eric Maynor may have been the CAA Player of the Year and is clearly a legitimate NBA prospect, there is likely no player in the conference with as much upside as freshman big man Larry Sanders. At 6í9Ē, with an outrageous 7í7Ē wingspan, Sanders has made his name as a shot blocking menace. His 7.8 blocks per 40 minutes adjusted pace is tops in the country, and he is 15th amongst all draft prospects with his 12.7 rebounds per 40 minutes adjusted pace. DraftExpress has watched tape of Sanders and was on hand at the CAA Tournament this weekend in Richmond to see him play in person twice.
We are talking about a player who is extremely raw, but has tremendous potential. At 205 pounds, he is rail thin and desperately will need to put on a good amount of weight, probably at least 25 pounds, in order to handle the physicality of playing in the post. He doesnít show tremendous quickness or explosiveness, but a lot of this may stem from the fact that he doesnít appear to have completely grown into his body yet. His length helps him overcome a lot of these shortcomings against CAA competition, but these will be issues against bigger opponents.
Offensively, Sanders is extremely underdeveloped at this point, as heís only been playing basketball for three years now. He attempts less than 4 shots per game and is not a major part of the Rams offense, mainly due to the fact that he just isnít that good with the ball yet. According to Synergy Sports Technology, nearly 45% of his touches at this point come from cuts around the basket. When on the floor, he typically stays below the block along the baseline and acts as a safety valve option for teammates that are driving to the rim. While early in the season he would struggle even from this spot, he has gotten better at finishing around the basket as the season as progressed. In the CAA quarterfinals he scored a career high 14 points against Towson, the majority of which came off of big dunks on dishes near the hoop.
As far as his back to the basket game is concerned, Sanders really needs to improve his footwork and touch. Again his lack of substantial bulk hurts him here as he often is forced to fall away from the basket or take a tough angle on his shot, because he canít really body up against defenders. At this point his only real move is a baby hook shot in which he spins to the middle. Often this shot is thrown up without him being completely square to the hoop and without much touch. If not for a high percentage of his shot attempts being dunks, it isnít likely that Sanders would have such a high shooting percentage.
At this point Sanders is no real threat to step away from the basket. His ball handling skills seem to be limited to a power dribble when going towards the rim, and he hasnít attempted more than a handful of shots from further than five feet away from the basket. The little bit we have seen of Sanders in regards to his shooting has come from the foul line. He doesnít get there that often (2 attempts per game) but he shoots an abysmal 45.8% despite showing pretty good shooting form. He has a very long release, which may have an effect on his shot, but this is clearly something he will need to work on in the off season. The fact that heís only dished out 4 assists in 31 games (he commits about 6 turnovers for every 1 assist) tells you all you need to know about where his understanding of the game currently lies.
Defense is where Sanders has made noise this season. He posted some very impressive block totals this season, including 9 in just 25 minutes on February 23rd versus Akron. At this point Sanders shows a tendency to wait until the shot is in the air before reacting and attempting to block it. While he is able to get away with this for the most part in the CAA against smaller opponents, this will not work against bigger and more athletic players. Rather than hanging back trying to come away with the highlight reel block, Sanders needs to work on his timing more while still playing man to man defense, something he could be very good at when he gains more experience.
As is the case with his shot blocking, Sanders excels on the glass thanks in large part to his length. He is able to haul in plenty of balls outside of his immediate area, more so than he should be able to. Itís a scary thought to think about how many rebounds Sanders has the potential to garner in the CAA if he adds enough strength and weight to hold his position better. At this point he finds himself taken out of a lot of plays, especially on the offensive end, due to that fact that opponents can box him out fairly easily because of his thin frame. Even so, Sanders is still able to pull in many rebounds over defenders backs.
Sanders is a big time project, there is no denying that. There is a tremendous amount of upside here though, with the potential to be a big time player not just in the CAA, but on a national level, if he can find a way to fill out his frame. Natural growth and maturing should help, but serious time in the weight room will be needed too. It is obviously still very early in the development process for Sanders, and it is hard to say where he will be a couple of years from now. [Read Full Article]