Prince Georges Community College Freshman Guard Lavonte Sanders (Photo Cred Ron Bailey i95Ballerz.com)
By Cardell Dudley
"He's talented but he isn't skilled enough" " Just a raw athlete" " DIII Player if that" those are some of the comments from scouts regarding PGCC freshman guard Lavonte Sanders as his high school career winded down. Never mind, that he was a vital piece for the eventual Maryland 4A State Champion Wise High School, averaging 12 points a game while also guarding the best player on the opposing team throughout the season. Sanders was still overlooked outside of a handful of DII and DIII offers. Feeling like he is a D1 caliber player, Sanders decided to take the JUCO route to prove he belongs on the highest level of college basketball, signing with PG Community College, who were fresh off a Region XX DIII Championship and led by Head Coach Xavier Joyner. The payoff has been immediate as Sanders has started the season with a bang. Even though PGCC is struggling to get wins as a team, Sanders has emerged, averaging 12.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game to start his collegiate career. Nice all around impact for a player seen as "just an athlete". I had a chance to catch up with Sanders to touch on how the college transition has been, how fun it has been playing for Coach Joyner and what he believes it will take to win a National Championship.
Sanders going high to finish the lefty dunk over Allegany County CC
FM- Talk about how the transition has been from high school to juco on and off the court?
LS - The pace is lot faster and it's a lot more aggressive and intense. Talking is key in college and everybody you play is going to put up a fight. Off the court, it's all on you. Not really people making sure you are on track with academics. That's all on you. FM- Coming out of high school you were labeled a raw athlete yet so far this season you have shown an ability to affect the game in many ways. What do you say about that label?
LS - I really don't have much to say to that label. I jus take it and move on. I know what I can do when I step on the court and I know what my ability is. FM - Xavier Joyner is a highly respected coach in the area. What is it like playing for him?
LS - It's fun playing for him. He has a lot of passion and love for the game and knows how to coach and win. He expects a lot from us because of the talent level and expects for us to work as if we are going to a D1 school. I love being one of his players. FM -What are some areas that you feel you have excelled at? And feel you need to work on?
LS - I excel at my dribbling, communicating, defense and my jumpshot. I really need to work on my free throws a lot. FM -To win a NJCAA championship PGCC will need to.......?
LS - To win a NCJAA championship PGCC will need to stay fully committed to what the coaching staff instills in us and stay consistent. If we keep up the defensive intensity that we played with this weekend and play as the family that we are, then we are unstoppable.