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Celebrity of Liberty: Jesse Sanders

September 16, 2011

On Monday morning after convocation I had the privilege to sit down with Jesse Sanders, ask him some questions and get to know him better. Part of what I want to do for this blog series is show the real personality of the “Celebrities of Liberty.” I got a really good glimpse of who Jesse Sanders is, what he really loves about Liberty and how he uses basketball to glorify Christ.

Jesse Daniel Sanders is one of 6 kids born to Tom and Nancy Sanders in Sugar Land, Texas. He was homeschooled his whole life with the group HCYA in the Houston area. Not only did his mom and siblings teach him, he took classes in the local church and during high school took some outside classes in the community. He described his homeschooling experience as in many ways similar to a preparatory institute and his transition into Liberty was therefore not too difficult. His dad actually started the HCYA basketball program in Houston 20 years ago. Jesse and his brothers had the opportunity to play on that team and his senior year of High School they won the Home School National Tournament. This paved the way for him to be able to play college basketball at Liberty.

Jesse is now going into his senior year here at Liberty and he continuously told me that he is so excited for his final season of basketball here. I’m not going to even try to go into details about it because I am not exactly a basketball ‘genius’ but he was definitely passionate about how amazing the team is this year. He is really taking on a leadership role of the team this season, being a senior and has high hopes that they will make it to the NCAA tournament. He also mentioned how much he enjoys being able to play basketball on a collegiate level with his younger brother John-Caleb who is currently a sophomore. My favorite thing he told me while talking to him in regards to the team was when he said ‘Its go time!”

(Photos by: Les Schofer/Liberty University)

He was very transparent with me and he continuously brought God into the conversation. He specifically talked about a trip he took to the Ivory Coast with Athletes in Action when he was 19. He said this was the most impactful trip of his life because he was stripped of every modern convenience. He learned a lot about playing college basketball but more than anything he was stretched spiritually by the locals and how they lived their faith out. He was prepared in huge ways by that trip before he came to college and is now seeing how he can implement the advice of the older athletes that he went with.

The way he balances school, basketball, and a spiritual life is by spending time in the Word and in prayer every morning. He is an abnormal college student in the respect that he tries to get to bed by 10:30-11:00 pm. He also shared with me that thanks to his mother (who he described as an incredible woman) he keeps a very clean house with his roommates and hates it when things are messy! I was really shocked to hear this because most college guys are slobs. It's nice to see that there are exceptions and some mothers still require their children to be neat!

Jesse and I had fun taking Photo Booth Pictures! 

Jesse Sanders, our star point guard really showed me that he isn’t some stuck up athlete and he enjoys a lot of the same things as most Liberty students. He was even willing to take silly pictures on mac’s Photo Booth software (something I am going to do with everyone I talk to for this series). Check back in the coming weeks for my next “Celebrities of Liberty” highlight!