Corey Sanders does not need awards to boost his already-high confidence but a Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor Monday afternoon was still welcome.
Sanders received the award hours before Rutgers tipped off against UMass Lowell after 16 points against Monmouth and a career-high 21 against FDU.
“I was walking in for shootaround and I was on my phone and that popped up,” Sanders said. “I was like, wow, I’ve been wanting one too. But you have to win games and you have to put up numbers to get one. That was good for me but I have to give it to my team. We’re out here fighting.”
Sanders’ production trended upward in non-conference play. He enters Big Ten action Wednesday with a conference-best 14 points and 1.7 steals per game.
“In this game you have to be confident or you’re going to get eaten up,” Sanders said. “I try to come out and do some eating instead of being ate.”
Classmate Jonathan Laurent is off to an equally-solid start that included 13 points and 15 boards. The pair combined for 33 points, 22 rebounds and five assists in 65 minutes against UMass Lowell.
“Everybody who didn’t think he was as good as he was hyped up to be, he’s showing everybody wrong,” Laurent said on Sanders. “He’s proving everybody wrong right now. That’s my bow from Florida. That’s how we do it.”