Saunders Favoring Big East

There was never any doubt about Damian Saunders' athleticism. The 6-foot-7 forward out of Crosby High (Conn.) is explosive. However, it's academics that have held him back thus far. Now he's getting his act in gear at Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) and Big East schools have taken notice.

It wasn't even a done deal that Damian Saunders was set to attend Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) until late in the summer.

Not only has the Connecticut native landed under Bill Barton, but he has already played well enough so that a couple of Big East schools have him atop or near their priority list.

``I'm going to choose between Marquette and Providence," the ultra-athletic 6-foot-7 forward said. "Right now I'm leaning towards Marquette."

Saunders averaged 25 points and 15.8 boards per game last season at Crosby High (Conn.) and was contemplating going to a junior college or redshirting instead of prep school this year.

``Coming here, it's like I'm a freshman in high school all over again," Saunders said. "I have had to get adjusted all over again."

Saunders has received interest from other schools such as UMass, Georgia, Cincinnati and Tennessee since he got to Fitchburg, Mass., but Marquette appears to have separated itself from the rest of the pack.

Saunders realizes he needs to work on his perimeter game and that his greatest strength is his athleticism.

``I have some good inside moves and low-post moves so I think I can be a threat in the post," he said. "Hopefully, I'll play a three in college but if it comes down to a three or a four, it doesn't really matter to me."

``He's going to be our Lamont Ulmer this year," Notre Dame Prep coach Bill Barton said. "With experience and a more refined role – he was doing everything last year – he should have a great year. He's already improved since he's been here."

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