Question: When we all look at Caris, no braces, to his haircut, he looks like a completely different person.
Jon Sanderson: “It looked like he was 12.”
Question: When you who has worked with him so much, when you look at him now?
Jon Sanderson: “I’m with him every day. It is kind of like with little kids, you don’t see the progress until you look at the old pictures of them. It really is amazing. Every once in a while I’ll go back and look at the pictures and look at his numbers and it is just fascinating how much development he’s had. I don’t know. I don’t know what else to see about that one other than he is kind of an anomaly with how much he’s grown up over this short time period. You typically don’t see that at this level, but he was a late bloomer and he was younger for his class. It is kind of like getting a high senior is what we got. His first year he was like a high school senior, he was 17. You get more development out of a guy that is younger.”
Question: Duncan Robinson, he’s made some pretty good gains already too.
Jon Sanderson: “Yeah. He’s another one just like Ricky. We had in our initial data collecting, like 6’8”, 190 pounds, doesn’t work very well in the Big Ten. At 215, 220 is way better. We said from day one, we have to get 10-15 pounds on you initially and he is already at 200 pounds right now. Our goal for him is to get to 215 to 220 by next year. He’s made tremendous change.”
Question: Is Derrick going to dunk in a game this year?
Jon Sanderson: “That’s up to Derrick. He certainly has the tools to do that though. He absolutely does.”
Question: I remember talking to Trey and he said he got challenged to do that after working out in the summer. I wonder if Derrick has been challenged in the same way?
Jon Sanderson: “He’s been challenged by Bacari every day. ‘Dunk when you can dunk!’ Derrick doesn’t have the same length as Trey. His wingspan isn’t the same. If he gets the right breakaway, if he cherry picks a little bit, he might be able to get one (laughter). He is more likely to do it in practice than a game, but he can do it if he wants. If he gets the right timing, but with little guards it’s hard to dunk. He has to jump much higher and put more effort to getting there than the guy that is 6’8”.”
Question: He has gone up how many inches?
Jon Sanderson: “4.5.”
Question: Zak is up five?
Jon Sanderson: “Five, yep.”
Question: What difference do you see that making for Irvin?
Jon Sanderson: “He has improved five inches, so it is a difference of he touched 11 foot and half an inch versus 11-5.5. I think he is going to have more opportunity to show it, to actually create his own shot, to probe it, get two feet in the paint. Again, we talked about this with the other guys, when you make that much of an impact and you have five more inches to work with, you’re going to get there quicker and you’re going to be able do more when you get two feet in the paint and you’re going to be able to shoot over guys. You just have more tools to work with. It’s always got to be married with a mindset of attacking the rim and not just shooting jump shots. He’s always going to shoot jump shots, but like Nik, I think he could diversify his game a little bit and not just be one dimensional and shoot jump shots. We saw that in Italy a little bit. One of the games he scored 22-23 points and I think he only made two threes. He’s getting in there and getting fouled a little bit more. I could see him doing more and more of that because he has the tools to do it.”
Question: Is there any danger of that affecting his form on a jump shot when you increase your vertical.
Jon Sanderson: “I wouldn’t say. You’re still shooting the same jump shot. Your jump shot is what it is. Technically, it is the same thing. You’re going to jump the same length every time, even though you can jump higher. It is kind of like a golfer, you’re not going to go up there and swing 100%. Those golfers are going to leave a little bit because they want accuracy. You’re not going to jump to the highest ever.”
Question: If it throws it off a little bit and we’ve seen the sports science thing where this little bit and that torque and this angle and this release point and everything affects it a little bit.”
Jon Sanderson: “I guess in theory it could, but I just don’t see that being an impact for him. You see guys all the time, did it hurt Nik’s jump shot? He improved 5.5 inches. I don’t see that being an issue at all.”
Stay tuned for part two for Sanderson's discussion of the growth of the freshmen, his program, and more.