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McKay Inks Sanders to NLI

April 23, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Ritchie McKay signs Jesse Sanders to a national letter of intent for the 2008-09 academic year.

Ritchie McKay signs Jesse Sanders to a national letter of intent for the 2008-09 academic year.

Liberty men's head basketball coach Ritchie McKay has announced that Jesse Sanders has signed a national letter of intent for the 2008-09 academic year.

Sanders, a 6-3 guard, led his home school team, the HCYA Warriors to a 40-3 record against some of the top 5A and prep schools in the Houston area. Sanders is from the same home school program that Lady Flames' Rachel McLeod played for. During his senior campaign, Sanders was second on the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and led his squad in assists (11.4 apg), rebounds (9.2 rpg) and steals (3.3 spg). The Warriors played in seven tournaments during Sanders' senior year, with the Sugar Land, Texas native taking home MVP honors in six of them.

"We are excited to add a person of Jesse's character and ability to the Liberty program," said McKay. "He is a tremendous young person who will immediately add a lot of value to the basketball program and Liberty University."

Sanders (Sugar Land, Texas) is the younger brother of Thomas Sanders, the Gardner-Webb standout who was an AP Honorable Mention All-American, Mid-Major All-American and Atlantic Sun Player of the Year. Sanders led the Bulldogs with 21 points and 10 rebounds in their upset of No. 20 Kentucky, inside Rupp Arena. The elder Sanders ranked third in the nation in double-doubles and led the nation in rebounding for all players 6-5 and shorter (10.8 rpg).

The Liberty signee becomes the fourth Division I recruit from the HCYA Warriors. Sanders joins his brother Thomas (Gardner-Webb), as well as Kevin Johnson (Tulsa) and Luke McDonald (Drake), as former Warriors who continued their collegiate career at the Division I level.

Sanders verbally committed to Rice prior to the spring signing period, but withdrew his verbal when the Owls fired Willis Wilson at the conclusion of the season. Sanders was pursued by new Rice head coach Ben Braun, but opted for Liberty over the Owls, in addition to a short list of other schools like Auburn, South Alabama, Northern Iowa and Wichita State.