Versatile Forward High on AU After Visit

Monroe College forward Orlando Sanchez comments on his official visit to check out Tony Barbee's Auburn Tigers.

New Rochelle, N.Y.--Basketball prospect Orlando Sanchez said he is looking for a place where he can contribute immediately and fit in with his new surroundings.

After making his first official visit, the 6-8, 212-pound forward from Monroe (junior) College in New York said that Auburn might be the place for him.

"This visit was great," he said. "Auburn University is a good place. Maybe it is good for me, too."

A member of the Dominican Republic National Team, the trip to Auburn was the first of three official visits for the prospect who averaged 9.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, two assists, 1.86 blocked shots and 1.2 steals per game for a team that finished 33-4.

Commenting on his trip to Auburn, Sanchez said, "I played with the other guys (Auburn players) and they are very good. The city is very nice. Everybody is friendly. I like it."

Sanchez said he likes Coach Tony Barbee and the other members of his staff. "He told me everything he needed in the team," the prospect said. "He needed one player like me to come to Auburn to win.

"I don't like to lose," the forward said. "In junior college for two years, I only lost nine games. We won 64 games."

Sanchez got a late start in the sport, noting he didn't start playing basketball until he was 16 after growing up playing baseball and volleyball while also competing in track and boxing.

A prospect with around 20 scholarship offers, he only plans to make three official visits with trips to St. John's and Providence next on his schedule.

He noted his college choice will be a challenging decision to make because after talking to the coaches at his three finalists, plus others, that there are good opportunities for him as he makes the jump from juco basketball to Division I.

Sanchez said that he spent time on his visit to Auburn with Kenny Gabriel, who just wrapped up his senior season playing for the Tigers. "K.G. talked with me yesterday and he told me everything they do on the team," Sanchez said, noting that Gabriel emphasized to him that Auburn is a good place to attend college and play basketball.

Monroe College head coach Jeff Brustad said whoever signs Sanchez will be bringing in a good player, a good person and good student, who is scheduled to graduate this spring with a 3.0 GPA. "He is very athletic with good hands,"?the coach said. "He can dunk it on you and is great in penetration."

Sanchez agreed with his coach's assessment of his game, noting that his penetration and ability to dunk are two of his strengths. The prospect also said that he believes he is a versatile player who can play forward, center or guard with the ability to run the floor in an up-tempo style of play. "I don't really have a position," he said. "I play everywhere."

Sanchez, who is 23 years old, is taking business administration classes at Monroe College. He noted that he is interested in becoming a coach after graduation and wants to take classes that will help him prepare for that career.

Asked what the key thing will be in making his college choice, Sanchez said, "The most important thing is to go to a city where everybody is friendly." He said that is something that really stood out to him on his visit to Auburn. "Also, I need to play," he added, noting that he doesn't want to spend much time on the bench.

Brustad noted whoever signs Sanchez is getting a winner. "He is already a good player and I think he has the potential to continue to improve," the coach said.

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