Larry Sanders Declares for NBA Draft

LarryDraftcopyRICHMOND, Va. – Junior Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) of the Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball team has declared himself eligible for the 2010 NBA Draft. He will hire an agent and forego his final season of eligibility with the Rams.

“This is a decision that I spent a lot of time thinking about and was very difficult to make,” Sanders said. “But after talking it over with my mom, my coaches and everyone that has supported me throughout the years, I have to decided to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA.”

The 6-11 forward is considered a potential first-round selection in June.

“I have had an incredible support system throughout my life and they are the ones that have enabled me to be in this position today,” Sanders stated. “I want to thank my mom for putting her life to the side to help me get where I am right now. I want to thank VCU for the opportunity to play college basketball and the education. I fully intend to return in the future and complete the necessary classes to earn my degree from VCU.

“To all my coaches, I can’t thank you enough. To Coach [Kareem Rodriguez] and all my supporters and Port St. Lucie High School, thank you. Coach Rodriguez has always treated me like his son and that has meant so much to me. To Coach Grant and his staff, thank you for bringing me here and giving me this chance to make it to the next level. To Coach Smart and my current coaches, thank you for stepping in right away and taking me under your wings and giving me the guidance and support. It was unbelievable to me, that in their first year, the way they stuck by me all the way through this difficult decision.

“And to my hometown of Fort Pierce, thank you for the constant love and support you have given me ever since I was a little kid.”

Sanders helped the Rams to a 75-27 record during his three seasons, including two CAA regular-season championships and one CAA tournament championship.

“I couldn’t have done all of this without my teammates,” Sanders commented. “My teammates were the ones who worked hard every day at practice and helped me elevate my game on a daily basis. I will never forget these guys that have become my brothers over the past three years.”

This past year, he led the team in scoring (14.4), rebounds per game (9.1) and field-goal percentage (53.4%). All three were career-highs and helped him earn a spot on the All-CAA First Team. The honor was his second straight all-conference accolade as Sanders was named to the All-CAA Second Team during his sophomore campaign.

“I’m extremely happy for Larry and 100% supportive of his decision to enter the NBA draft”, Head Coach Shaka Smart said. “Our program is very thankful for the contributions that Larry has made to VCU basketball over the past three years. He has provided all of us with many lasting memories and created highlights that we will never forget.”

In March, Sanders earned his second consecutive Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2008-09 and 2009-10. His length, athleticism and quickness are what drew over 180 NBA Scouts to VCU games this past season.

“Larry’s opportunity is extremely unique and exciting,” Smart said. “Over the next few years, I am very confident that he will to continue to grow and develop as a player and find significant success at the next level. I’m extremely pleased that another member of the VCU basketball family is about to realize his dream of playing in the NBA.”

Sanders is expected to be the second straight NBA Draftee from VCU, joining Ram great Eric Maynor, who was selected 20th overall by the Utah Jazz in last year’s NBA draft.

“Coming to VCU was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Sanders said. “This place is one close-knit family, from the fans to the coaches to the players. Everyone has each other’s back and this place is the main reason I am able to take this next step.”

Sanders concludes his Black & Gold career with 1,044 points (27th all-time at VCU), 776 rebounds (fourth all-time), 277 blocks (second all-time) and 28 double-doubles (third all-time).

The 2010 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Matt has been reporting on VCU sports for Ram Nation since 2007 with a focus on news, photos, and feature stories.
  • JMoney
  • April 9, 2010
Probably would have been better decision to come out last year, he struggled without Maynor and has no mid range game, great athlete will most likely slip into second round after teams see him shoot the ball...
  • vcu_dan
  • April 9, 2010
Struggled? 15, 9, and 2.5 wasn't exactly terrible. Also, he improved is mid range game dramatically this year, not to mention leaving last year wasn't really an option.
  • ZombeeSonic
  • April 10, 2010
The only struggle I saw was that he seemed to get caught up in himself, scouting, and hype about halfway through the season. When he was launching 3's in the first NU game, it was really evident. Nonetheless, he was part of the 2008-09 team that I probably loved more than any VCU team I've watched. He is also one of the most electrifying athletes I've ever seen in person. I hope he ends up in Oklahoma City!
  • Matt C.
  • April 10, 2010
15, 9, and 2.5 may not be terrible but he should have been dominating towards the ends of games against weak CAA teams and he just didn't get the job done.
  • kay
  • April 10, 2010
i am so... happy for him, true he struggled in some games but i believe it was a learning experience for him. you can't learn without making some mistakes. lets hope he returns to FLORIDA!!!
  • Jon Jones
  • April 12, 2010
Lary will be a power in the NBA, trust me, his mid-range game is awesome, even better then when I played along side of him back in High School. If he lands anywhere in Florida I will be there every game to support.
  • DW
  • April 13, 2010
Man...this is a bad move Larry.

1. You have no outside jumper.
2. Your offense/post game needs so much more development.
3. You are not strong enough to bang with the big boys in the NBA...yet.
4. Even when playing against 3rd tier teams in CBI Tourny, you were not dominant. You would get out rebounded and in EARLY foul trouble.
5. just because you have long arms doesn't mean you are awesome.

I'm a big fan of yours Larry, just wish that you were staying for your senior year to further develop into a true powerhouse.

Good luck - you will be missed.
  • Mike
  • April 15, 2010
As a VCU fan I'm sad to see Larry go. As a Larry Sanders fan I am very happy for him and this decision. With the state of the NBA, he has to go this year. The NBA may lock out in 2011, if he were to stay for his senior year he could cost himself millions of dollars. I'm hoping for a successful career for Larry and many more VCU players to come.