RAMS IN THE PROS: SANDERS SURGES

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Former Ram Larry Sanders (center) is averaging 8.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game this season.

Former Ram Larry Sanders (center) is averaging 8.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game this season.

It looks like Larry Sanders is starting to figure out this NBA thing.

The 24-year-old former VCU star and current Milwaukee Buck is enjoying a breakout season. Selected 15th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, Sanders is beginning to deliver on the promise Milwaukee saw on film and in workouts.

Through a quarter of the season, the 6-foot-11, 235-pound center was averaging career-highs of 8.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Sanders is shooting 54 percent from the floor, and as of this writing, his 3.0 blocks per game average was tied for the league lead.

Last season, Sanders averaged just 3.6 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. But a strong preseason and training camp earned him increased playing time from Bucks’ Coach Scott Skiles. Sanders responded with 10 points and seven rebounds in an opening-night victory over the Boston Celtics.

On Nov. 30, Sanders recorded his first career triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in a loss at Minnesota. His 10 blocks tied the franchise record, set by Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar later took to Twitter to congratulate Sanders.

Sanders followed with 18 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks against the Celtics the next night.

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RAMS IN THE PROS: SKEEN GETS A SCARE IN ISRAEL

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Former Ram Jamie Skeen is averaging 10.7 points per game this season for Maccabi Ashdod in Israel.

Former Ram Jamie Skeen is averaging 10.7 points per game this season for Maccabi Ashdod in Israel.

Jamie Skeen admits he knew virtually nothing of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict before two years ago. To him, war was in some faraway place like Iraq. He certainly didn’t envision war would come to his doorstep.

But earlier this year, Skeen, the star of VCU’s 2011 Final Four run, found himself caught in the crossfire of the decades-old conflict. Skeen is currently playing for Maccabi Ashdod in Israel’s top division. In the middle of one November practice, team owners abruptly sent players and coaches home and told them to prepare for rocket attacks.

Skeen ran to the locker room to gather his clothes. That’s when they heard the first warning siren, which signals incoming rockets.

“When you hear the siren, you have 20 seconds to get to the safe room,” Skeen says, referring to a reinforced structure within many residences and buildings in the region.

He rushed back to his apartment and his girlfriend, Whitney. The next morning, Skeen says rockets began scorching through the air five and six at a time as people began their daily commute. The rocket attacks would persist for eight days. He says one rocket landed a short walk from his apartment.

“When one lands, your whole apartment building shakes,” he said.

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