Larry Sanders (basketball)

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Larry Sanders
Sanders with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2011
Personal information
Born (1988-11-21) November 21, 1988 (age 35)
Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High schoolPort St. Lucie
(Port St. Lucie, Florida)
CollegeVCU (2007–2010)
NBA draft2010: 1st round, 15th overall pick
Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks
Playing career2010–2017
PositionCenter / power forward
Number8, 9
Career history
20102015Milwaukee Bucks
2011Fort Wayne Mad Ants
2017Cleveland Cavaliers
2017Canton Charge
Career highlights and awards
  • First-team All-CAA (2010)
  • Second-team All-CAA (2009)
  • 2× CAA Defensive Player of the Year (2009, 2010)
  • 3× CAA All-Defensive Team (2008–2010)
  • CAA All-Freshman Team (2008)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at

Larry Sanders (born November 21, 1988) is an American former professional basketball player. He played power forward for the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams before declaring himself eligible for the 2010 NBA draft and was selected 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.

High school career[edit]

Sanders did not play basketball in the ninth grade, and the private school he attended did not offer it. However, after he transferred to Port St. Lucie High School, the school's basketball coach, Kareem Rodriguez, saw potential in the then 6'1" Sanders and prevailed on him to play for the team. Sanders grew to 6'4" in his second year and to 6'6" in his third. He would sprout further to 6'9" in his senior year. His production and growth spurt was enough that Rodriguez alerted his friend Tony Pujol, an assistant at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), to watch out for him. He began garnering statewide attention in his junior campaign as he helped Port St. Lucie reach the Class 5A state semifinals. In his senior year, while averaging 18.9 points and 13 rebounds, Sanders led Port St. Lucie (20–8) to the District 13-5A Championship, and was named by the Associated Press to the First Team All-State.[1] He committed to the VCU Rams when major schools only just started to take interest in him.

College career[edit]

At VCU, he was keen to train under its then head coach Anthony Grant, who was known to have tutored standout big men at the University of Florida while he was still an assistant there.[2] For his first two seasons for VCU, Sanders played 2nd star to guard Eric Maynor. He excelled in that role, utilizing his size and athleticism to disrupt teams defensively. As a sophomore, he helped the Rams into the 2009 NCAA tournament against the UCLA Bruins, but lost 65–64 in the first round of the tournament.[3] Sanders went on to have a more prominent role in his junior season after Maynor was drafted into the NBA. As a junior Sanders averaged 14.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks, with 53% field-goal accuracy, all statistical team highs, on his way to earning the second of his consecutive CAA Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2008–09 and 2009–10.[4]

Larry Sanders announced in April 2010 after his junior year that he was departing VCU early to enter the NBA draft.[5]

Professional career[edit]

Milwaukee Bucks (2010–2015)[edit]

Sanders was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 15th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft.[6] On July 8, 2010, he signed a multi-year, rookie scaled contract with the Bucks. On February 20, 2011, he was assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA D-League.[7] On February 26, 2011, he was recalled by the Bucks.

On November 30, 2012, he recorded his only career triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks in a loss to Minnesota. He finished the season second in blocks per game behind Serge Ibaka. Sanders also finished third in voting for the NBA Most Improved Player Award, after Paul George and Greivis Vásquez.

Sanders dunking in a game against the Washington Wizards in March 2013

On August 20, 2013, Sanders signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension with the Bucks.[8]

In December 2013, Sanders was sidelined for 25 games after sustaining a torn ligament in his thumb in a night club altercation.[9] Sanders was fined for the two municipal citations of disorderly conduct and assault and battery charges, but police did not pursue further criminal charges.[10] That same year he was cited twice for animal cruelty for leaving two German shepherd puppies outside without proper food, water, and shelter. [11]

On March 20, 2014, it was announced that Sanders would miss the rest of the 2013–14 season due to a fractured right orbital bone.[12]

On April 4, 2014, Sanders was given a five-game suspension for violating the NBA's drug policy after testing positive for marijuana.[13]

In December 2014, Sanders was placed on Bucks' inactive roster due to personal reasons.[14] After a seven-game absence, Sanders appeared on the Bucks' bench on January 7, 2015, against the Phoenix Suns, but did not suit up.[15] Rumors emerged that Sanders wanted to leave the sport, all of which were denied by his agent.

Sanders again violated the NBA's drug policy during the 2014–15 season and was subsequently suspended without pay for a minimum of ten games on January 16, 2015.[16]

It was announced on February 21, 2015, following his second suspension for marijuana use, that the Bucks were buying out Sanders' contract.[17] On February 25, a video of Sanders was released where he explained that he entered into a program at Rogers Memorial Hospital for anxiety, depression and mood disorders. He said that the program led him to realize "what's important, and where I would want to devote my time and energy" and that ultimately he realized that "for [basketball] to be consuming so much of my life and time right now ... it's not there for me. It's not that worth it." He did, however, claim to still love the game and that "if I get to a point where I feel I'm capable of playing basketball again, then I will."[18][19]

On January 26, 2017, Sanders announced his decision to return to basketball.[20][21]

Cleveland Cavaliers (2017)[edit]

On March 13, 2017, Sanders signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.[22] He made his debut for the Cavaliers the following night in a 128–98 win over the Detroit Pistons. He played the final 1:58 and missed his only shot attempt while recording two fouls.[23] On April 12, 2017, he was waived by the Cavaliers after appearing in five games.[24] During his stint with Cleveland, he had multiple assignments with the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League.[25] He reportedly struggled keeping up with responsibilities on and off the court.[26] Sanders later played with 3 Headed Monsters in the 2019 Big3 season.

Personal life[edit]

In his time away from basketball, Sanders created an artist collective, clothing line, and non-profit organization named Citizen of Matter. Sanders also worked as a music producer under the moniker L8 Show. Sanders received a placement on PartyNextDoor's second studio album titled PartyNextDoor 3 on a track titled "Don't Run".[27]

Career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high


Regular season[edit]

2010–11 Milwaukee 60 12 14.5 .433 - .560 3.0 .3 .4 1.2 4.3
2011–12 Milwaukee 52 0 12.4 .457 .000 .474 3.1 .6 .6 1.5 3.6
2012–13 Milwaukee 71 55 27.3 .506 .000 .618 9.5 1.2 .7 2.8 9.8
2013–14 Milwaukee 23 20 25.4 .469 .000 .473 7.2 .8 .8 1.7 7.7
2014–15 Milwaukee 27 26 21.7 .500 .500 6.1 .9 1.0 1.4 7.3
2016–17 Cleveland 5 0 2.6 .250 1.000 .8 .0 .2 .2 .8
Career 238 113 19.5 .480 .000 .553 5.7 .7 .6 1.8 6.4


2013 Milwaukee 4 4 28.3 .576 .455 8.3 1.3 .8 1.3 10.8
Career 4 4 28.3 .576 .455 8.3 1.3 .8 1.3 10.8


  1. ^ "Former Jaguar star Larry Sanders getting national attention".
  2. ^ "Leaps and bounds: Ex-PSL basketball player Larry Sanders growing into role in 1st year at Virginia Commonwealth".
  3. ^ "VCU vs. UCLA - Game Recap - March 19, 2009 - ESPN".
  4. ^ "Larry Sanders Declares for NBA Draft". 9 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Rams' Sanders will enter NBA draft - Richmond Times-Dispatch". 12 April 2010. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Bucks Roster: Larry Sanders". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  7. ^ "Bucks Assign Sanders to Fort Wayne of D-League". Milwaukee Bucks.
  8. ^ "Bucks sign Larry Sanders to contract extension". Archived from the original on 2015-02-22. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  9. ^ Bucks' Gary Neal asked Larry Sanders to try earning his money
  10. ^ Police cite Bucks’ Larry Sanders for nightclub incident; fight video released Archived 2014-01-16 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ PBucks Player Larry Sanders Was Cited for Animal Cruelty Earlier This Year
  12. ^ "Bucks center Sanders out for season".
  13. ^ Bucks’ Larry Sanders suspended five games for violation of NBA’s Anti-Drug Program Archived 2014-04-07 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Silverman, Robert (6 January 2015). "If Larry Sanders quits the NBA, he is not wasting his talent". The Guardian – via
  15. ^ "Larry Sanders on Bench but Still Out for 7th Straight Game". The New York Times.
  16. ^ release, Official. "Bucks' Sanders suspended minimum of 10 games".
  17. ^ "Bucks Request Waivers on Larry Sanders". Milwaukee Bucks.
  18. ^ The Players' Tribune (25 February 2015). "Larry Sanders - Why I Walked Away From the NBA: Players' POV". Archived from the original on 2021-12-15 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "Arnovitz: Being Larry Sanders". 27 February 2015.
  20. ^ "Hey, now! Larry Sanders says he's 'officially stepping back into the game'". 27 January 2017.
  21. ^ "Larry Sanders is 'officially stepping back into the game' two years after walking away from the NBA". 27 January 2017.
  22. ^ "Cavaliers Sign Larry Sanders". March 13, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  23. ^ "James has triple-double, Cavs beat Pistons 128-96". March 14, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  24. ^ "Cavaliers Waive Larry Sanders". April 12, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  25. ^ "2016-17 NBA Assignments". Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  26. ^ Lloyd, Jason (April 12, 2017). "Cavs move on from Larry Sanders after discovering how far he was from helping them". Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  27. ^ Piellucci, Mike (30 August 2016). "The Continuing Education of Larry Sanders".

External links[edit]