Sunday, April 20, 2008

Basketball Season Grades: Rakim Sanders

Rakim Sanders played like a raw freshman. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it is.

Sanders has great potential and contributed a few great moments. He hit some big outside shots at various times (included the notoriously waived off shot against VT). Sanders body and hops put him in great position to pick up rebounds and he collected a respectable 4.6 a game. He also proved to be a good defender, capable of disrupting passes and blocking the occasional shot.

Sanders two problems were glaring -- free throws and turnovers. I attribute both to being young and facing a higher level of competition for the first time. The turnover numbers obviously mean that Sanders must be more careful passing the ball. You have to go back to 2000 and Troy Bell's first year to find a BC freshmen who turned the ball over more (and Bell touched the ball much more than Sanders). An alarming number of his turnovers were traveling. Sanders has got to be more disciplined with his feet and first steps. The other disappointment was Sanders' atrocious free throw shooting. He shot .462 from the line. I think he can improve. He shot .386 from three and his former seemed decent. I think it is all in his head and working on a consistent approach.

Sanders can be a great player. You can see it in his size, ability and willingness to take big shots. The mismatches he creates with his size can be exploited close to the basket and he can pop out to bury an outside shot. That alone is a foundation for success. If Sanders improves on his sloppy play, BC could be good next year.

Season Grade: B

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