Rising Prospect Damian Saunders Lists Orange

The recruitment process has picked up lately for 6-7 forward Damian Saunders of Waterbury, CT. The Crosby High star hasn't had much of a chance to showcase his abilities on the national stage but on Friday he took advantage of another opportunity at the 16U Super Showcase in Orlando. The Connecticut Nike Elite starter had the 10-or-so coaches in attendance buzzing.

Damian Saunders is a 2006 Syracuse prospect ironically with several Connecticut connections.


Damian's Connecticut AAU team is coached by non-other than current UCONN Women's Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma. The UCONN connections don't stop there. He's also the distant cousin of former UCONN Men's Basketball player Edmund Saunders. But after that the conversation turns to 2 other Big East schools and one ACC school.


"My current list is Syracuse, Providence, and Miami," said Saunders who also admitted none of the schools have offered.


After a full July schedule concludes Saunders will be making unofficial visits to 2 of the aforementioned schools.


"In August I plan on going to Syracuse to visit and then Providence the week after."


Saunders has only played organized basketball for 3 seasons but seems like the type of player who gets better every time he takes the court. Coach Auriemma has witnessed the difference a year makes and has nothing but praise to heap on the rising talent.


"Defensively he's like Bill Russell he blocks shots, he rebounds, he runs the floor, he's a terrific ball-handler, a good passer, he's really bright…" Auriemma continued. "But he didn't have any offensive game. He really didn't think of himself as a scorer. He played on a high school team where he didn't get a lot of shots and now all of a sudden this summer you see him he's getting 25, 29, 24 every night and you can sense his confidence growing on the offensive end."


That confidence was on display today as Damian faced some stiff competition on Friday.  The budding 2006 prospect went head-to-head with 2007 star 6-9 Donte Greene of Mt. Royal/Team Melo.


Saunders did get his shot rejected twice by Greene in the first half but returned the favor in the 2nd half with two big rejections of his own. On the offensive end Damian struggled a bit in this one, finishing with 7 points (my guess), But the move that had the gym jumping was a catch at the top of the key-- strong drive --and an authoritative jam down the lane. Even Mickey Mouse heard those Ooohs and Ahhhs. He had another strong move and reversed it on the 6-9 Greene. I was impressed with how fearless Saunders was going to the hole.


He has long arms and great timing defensively where he's quite the presence and offensively he's got great court vision.


Damian is an intelligent kid who continues to get better and I can guarantee you he'll have some mail waiting for him when he returns home to Connecticut. Like many young stars, he has aspirations of an NBA career; one of the many reasons he's interested in the Orange.


 "There's all those great players that came out and went to the NBA. I hope I can be the next player out of there to go to the NBA."

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