Busy Day Includes OSU Commitment For Sanders

No matter how the basketball career of Brianna Sanders turns out, the Cincinnati Princeton standout will no doubt look back on April 23 as a day that involved a great deal of wisdom.

Not only did she verbally commit to join Ohio State's class of 2009 on Wednesday, she also had her wisdom teeth removed.

One day later, the 5-11 standout told BuckeyeSports.com she was on her way to recovery from her dental procedure and excited about joining an Ohio State program that has won the last four Big Ten regular season championships.

"The program is going somewhere so I decided to verbally commit to Ohio State," she said.

She averaged 7.5 point and 2.1 points per game as a junior for the 16-6 Vikings. Those are modest numbers for a Division I prospect, but there is more to them than meets the eye.

Sanders played the season while recovering from a torn ACL in her left knee. The injury limited to her 13 games, including five starts. She averaged just 15.2 minutes per game and played more than half of only four contests.

Her high school coach, Jill Phillips, said there were still flashes of brilliance from Sanders, a slasher who can play either guard spot or small forward.

She scored in double-figures four times, including a win over Greater Miami Conference foe Middletown in which she had 16 points in 14 minutes and a loss to GMC opponent Colerain during which she scored 13 points in 14 minutes.

Sanders also showed a nice touch from three-point range in limited opportunities, making 13 of 27 (48.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

At full strength as a sophomore, Sanders led the team with a14.0 points per game.

Her father and AAU coach, Steve Sanders, said he felt any kid growing up and playing sports in Ohio has dreams of being a Buckeye, and that OSU head coach Jim Foster and his staff began showing interest in his daughter about a year go, ironically also about the time Sanders suffered her injury during an AAU tournament.

Despite the injury, which the player said feels about 95 percent healed now as she continues her AAU career, the prospect remained on the OSU recruiting radar, and now she is looking forward to the opportunity to help Foster continue the process of pepping up an attack known more for its powerful post play than running and gunning.

"That's the kind of basketball we play," Phillips said. "We're up tempo."

The coach said Sanders fits well in a fast-paced game, and her father confirmed that he asked the coaching staff how his daughter's skills would be utilized in Columbus.

"That was a concern coming in, but if you look at some of the kids coming in in 2008 – the point guard coming from New York and Amber Stokes from Columbus – those kids are not half-court players," Steve Sanders said.

Brianna said she was told about Ohio State's desire to speed up the tempo, and she is familiar with the New York point guard to whom her father referred – McDonald's All-American Samantha Prahalis.

The two played together in an all-star game in Atlanta two summers ago.

"She has crazy dribbling skills," the younger Sanders said.

Along with incoming freshmen Prahalis, a five-star Scout.com prospect and the No. 19 player overall in the class of 2008, and Stokes, a three-star combo guard, Sanders will join a backcourt that figures to be quite crowded in 2009.

That season current Buckeyes Shavelle Little, the starting point guard last season, and Maria Moeller, the starter at the point in 2007, and two-year reserve Cherise Daniel will all be seniors.

Meanwhile, scheduled to be juniors are four-star recruits Alison Jackson and Brittany Johnson, both of whom are 5-11 and with long arms. Jackson is a 2007 McDonald's All-American while Johnson finished her prep career as the all-time leading prep scorer in the state of Illinois.

"Those kids you have to let play and get out and run," Steve Sanders said. "I think with the kids he's bringing in it shows that he's going to be able to change his style."

Also figuring to be a junior that season is 6-4 forward/center Jantel Lavender, the reigning Big Ten player of the year.

Brianna Sanders said Pittsburgh was the runner-up for her services. She also had offers from West Virginia, Cincinnati, Xavier, Illinois and Purdue.

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