RICHMOND, Va. – Of the 275 non-BCS schools that play NCAA Division I Basketball, only three schools had ever had back-to-back first round NBA draft picks entering Thursday night.
That list grew by one as Virginia Commonwealth University joined Memphis, Utah and UNLV after Larry Sanders (Fort Pierce, Fla.) was taken with the 15th pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.
"I'm really at a loss for words right now," Sanders said. "Two years ago, I never even thought about playing among the best players in the world and to have it become reality is very, very special."
Sanders joins Ram great Eric Maynor, who was selected in the first round last year by the Utah Jazz. VCU is also the only school in the Commonwealth of Virginia to garner back-to-back first round choices.
"We're really excited for Larry and the opportunity he has at the next level," Head Coach Shaka Smart said. "To have back-to-back first round draft picks is something that few schools can boast. It says a lot about the support our fans have given this program for many, many years."
In his three seasons with the Black & Gold, Sanders aided
the Rams to a 75-27 record, two Colonial Athletic Association
regular-season championships and one CAA tournament
"I couldn't have done all of this without my teammates," Sanders commented. "My teammates were the ones who worked hard every day at practice and helped me elevate my game on a daily basis. I will never forget these guys that have become my brothers over the past three years."
In 2009-10, he led the team in scoring (14.4), rebounds per game (9.1) and field-goal percentage (53.4%). All three were career-highs and helped him earn a spot on the All-CAA First Team. The honor was his second straight all-conference accolade as Sanders was named to the All-CAA Second Team during his sophomore campaign.
In March, Sanders earned his second consecutive CAA Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2008-09 and 2009-10. His length, athleticism and quickness are what drew over 180 NBA Scouts to VCU games this past season.
"Coming to VCU was the best decision I've ever made," Sanders said. "This place is one close-knit family, from the fans to the coaches to the players. Everyone has each other's back and this place is the main reason I am able to take this next step."
Sanders concludes his Black & Gold career with 1,044 points (27th all-time at VCU), 776 rebounds (fourth all-time), 277 blocks (second all-time) and 28 double-doubles (third all-time).