There was a famous banner that made the rounds during Larry Sanders’ VCU career that read, “Larry Sanders has a posse.” Well, now he can afford one.
Sanders, who had one year remaining on his original rookie contract, officially signed a multi-year extension with the Milwaukee Bucks – who drafted him 15th overall in 2010 – on Tuesday. Terms have not been disclosed, but multiple outlets have reported that the extension is for four years and $44 million, and incentives could push it to as much as $48 million. Alex Boeder of “Bucks Beat” wrote a nice piece on why that’s a good thing for Bucks’ fans.
If you saw Larry Sanders the first time he stepped onto the floor at the Verizon Wireless Arena in 2007, your first impression would likely have been something like, “well, he’s tall.” Discovered in Fort Pierce, Fla. by then-assistant Tony Pujols, Sanders had been playing organized basketball for only a couple of years, and was, without a doubt, raw. It was tough to throw the ball to Sanders in the post because he wasn’t very good at catching it, and when he did, he wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it. But for all the things he hadn’t been taught, there were so many skills he possessed that you can’t teach.
Sanders was starting halfway through that season and eventually averaged 4.9 points and 5.2 rebounds on an NIT squad. He averaged 11.3 points and 8.6 rebounds as a sophomore and became a viable sidekick to Eric Maynor. The performance of those two in the 2009 CAA Championship Game, Maynor lobbing to Sanders (18 points, 20 rebounds, 7 blocks) for dunks, Sanders blocking everything in sight, was an eye-opener for fans and scouts alike.
At that stage, it was pretty clear Sanders was going to end up in the NBA someday. After a junior season in which he led the Rams in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg), Sanders entered the draft. He wasn’t a finished product by any means, but his draft stock was soaring. In a league with a dearth of centers, Sanders’ combination of length and athleticism was coveted. After two occasionally frustrating seasons in Milwaukee, Sanders broke out last season and averaged 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. He’s just 24, and he’s starting to come into his own. The Bucks were smart to sign him now, rather than take their chances after the 2013-14 season.