He may have a famous father who played in the NFL, but Oklahoma junior prep football star Barry Sanders, Jr. (5-9, 180) had his mind on basketball on Friday.
The Oklahoma City Heritage Hall tailback was trying to figure out how the Celtics, Lakers and other NBA teams would matchup with the Miami Heat's new trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
"I think it was a great decision by LeBron," Sanders said. "It was a little over the top (with the one-hour show on TV to announce the decision)."
One thing you will find out quickly is that the younger Sanders – who already has seven scholarship offers – is certainly not as private and reserved as his famous dad.
"He is very outgoing," Heritage Hall head coach Andy Bogert said. "He looks like he enjoys himself all the time. His dad was very shy and did not like to be around crowds. But Barry (Jr.) just loves being around people and has a great attitude."
But there certainly are some similarities as well – facially and on the field.
The younger Sanders became a you tube sensation when highlights from his play as a freshman scoring three touchdowns in the state title game hit the web.
"Some of his running style is just like his dad," Bogert said. "If you could inlay some of their runs, that would look similiar. The way they look and the way they cut. They both have that ability to make cuts that you don't think can be done.
"As far as being different, I think he is going to be bigger than his dad, probably heavier and probably every bit as quick," Bogert said. "He just turned 16 in April. He is still growing and we don't know what he is going to look like next year."
Those are some of the reasons that Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Arizona and Kansas State have already offered the younger Sanders.
"I hope it is not like Lebron and I take forever to tell people what I am doing, but I have seven offers now and I am just going to take it slow and make sure I see all the aspects of it," Sanders said. "I will do my research and talk to my family. I know my dad will give me advice as needed."
Arkansas is among numerous other teams keeping an eye on him.
"I do know that Darren McFadden came out of there and Felix Jones," Sanders said. "They are in the SEC and I am a big fan of the SEC. If they have what I need and they are my best choice, I will take a long look. But I really haven't done too much research on the teams yet."
Sanders said that his name is both a blessing and a curse at times.
"It does get bothersome at times because I am my own guy and I want to make my own name and my own plays and it be me and not because of him," Sanders said. "But he cheers me on and is great as a dad. But when I come out here it is all business and I am just another guy trying to get it done."
Sanders does not remember seeing his dad play for a very simple reason.
"I was five when he retired," Sanders said. "There are very few memories I have. I do remember and going up to Michigan and going to practice once. It is very vague. But I have watched plenty of highlights. He was a great player. Who wouldn't want to watch highlights of him?"
Heritage Hall was 2-1-1 in its four pool games on Friday afternoon.
Action gets back underway Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with tournament play starting at 1:15 and the championship slated for 3:45.
"We come over here every year and we just like it," Bogert said. "The competition level over here is good for us. We like to compete. We are a smaller school, but we feel like we can compete with anybody."
Sanders agrees that playing in the Southwest Elite and in Little Rock's Shootout of the South are helpful for his team.
Albeit he admits it usually ends up happening in the rain – which came late Friday afternoon as his final game was played in a downpour.
"They are fun," Sanders said. "There was a lot of great competition at the Shootout of the South as well as out here. It is probably the best competition that we see. Usually when we go to Kansas, we are just testing out some things and seeing who wants to play or not. When we come to Arkansas, it's hard-nosed and physical. And usually wet for some reason. It usually rains."
Barry Sanders, Jr.
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