Corey Sanders has always had a flair for the dramatic. So why would his NBA draft exploration be any different?
Days before the withdraw deadline, Sanders lit the tension fuse when he teased a departure during an exit interview with the Sacramento Kings. The workout – Sanders did not receive any after his freshman season – showed progress but the pride of Lakeland, Fla., is not done in New Jersey.
Sanders confirmed his return to Rutgers through the program's Instagram and Twitter accounts.
While Rutgers always expected Sanders back, it became a tougher decision the second time. Transfers Nigel Johnson and Jonathan Laurent were two of his closest friends on the roster, and Sanders has a more-desirable skillset after a year under Steve Pikiell's staff.
"The evaluation process was a valuable learning experience for Corey and we are excited about his return,” said Rutgers head coach Steve Pikiell. “Corey made great strides as a sophomore and we fully expect him to use the feedback he received to develop further and have a great junior season. Corey will play an integral role as we continue to build both the present and future of Rutgers Basketball.”
Rutgers' leader in scoring, assists and steals as a freshman and sophomore, Sanders returns 161 points away from the 1,000 club.
Rutgers has one scholarship open for flexibility with Sanders, Mike Williams and DeShawn Freeman as the roster anchors in Pikiell's second season. Pikiell signed Geo Baker, Myles Johnson and transfer Peter Kiss with a verbal commitment from Souf Mensah that awaits a National Letter of Intent.
“We've got 100 voids, so we're just trying to get good players right now,” Pikiell told Scarlet Report last week. “Everyone will say, 'we need this.' I'll say, 'we need everything.' When you finish in 14th place, you need everything. We have some good players. I think we really upgraded our passing ability a tremendous amount. I think our athleticism (is better) and our ability to shoot the ball.”