In the months leading up to the 2016-’17 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point
In today’s edition of the BTPowerhouse 25, we take a look at Rutgers guard Corey Sanders. He was one of the few bright spots on a team that only managed to win seven games last season. Fortunately for the Scarlet Knights, Sanders reneged on his decision to declare for the NBA draft, returning to Piscataway for his sophomore season. Entering his second season in college basketball, Sanders is one of the more underrated scorers in the Big Ten.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - #18 Corey Sanders:
- Eligibility: Sophomore
- Career Totals: 27 G, 15.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.3 APG
- 2015-16 Averages: 27 G, 20.9 MPG, 15.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 4.3 APG
- Positional Role: Point Guard
Sanders joined last year’s Rutgers team with plenty of excitement as the program’s biggest recruiting addition in quite some time. Unfortunately, he was one of the lone bright spots on one of the Big Ten’s worst teams in recent memory. The hope for Scarlet Knight fans will be that he can help turn around things this year.
What immediately stands out about Sanders is his production as a scoring guard. With 15.9 points per game as a freshman, he ranked in the top 10 in the conference. While most of the attention on Sanders is on his talents as an talented scoring threat, he is also a surprisingly effective passer and ball handler. Last season, he ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten in both assists per game and assist percentage.
Complementing his abilities as a distributor, Sanders is also capable of forcing plenty of turnovers. He ranked third last year in both total steals and steals per game.
Areas for Improvement
Offensively, Sanders still must improve as a three-point shooter. He shot a below average 31 percent from beyond the arc as he averaged 4.83 point attempts on the season. He has already shown himself to be an efficient scorer with a 48 percent shooting percentage on two point field goals, and improving as a three-point shooter will only make him an even more high-volume scorer.
If Sanders is going to propel Rutgers this season, he also needs to take a step forward on the defensive end. As mentioned, he did force turnovers, but assuming the Scarlet Knights play slower this season, he’s going to have to lock in on that side of the floor if Rutgers is going to improve as a defensive team.
Rutgers’ chances inside the conference mostly rest on Sanders’s ability to continue his rise into one of the Big Ten’s most dynamic scoring threats. One should also expect Sanders to remain as an elite ball handler and distributor among Big Ten guards.
Though it is still difficult to expect Rutgers to have much success this upcoming season, Corey Sanders will be one of the key reasons to pay attention to the Scarlet Knights. This season is also important for him in continuing his NBA development into a potential first round pick.
'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings:
- #26-31 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #24 - Josh Langford (Michigan State)
- #24 - Kam Williams (Ohio State)
- #23 - Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Michigan)
- #22 - Jalen Coleman-Lands (Illinois)
- #21 - Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State)
- #20 - Jae’Sean Tate (Ohio State)
- #19 - James Blackmon (Indiana)
- #18 - Eron Harris (Michigan State)
- #17 - Corey Sanders (Rutgers)
- #16 - to be continued ...