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Posted On: 03/22/18 12:00 PM
One of the state’s best young point guards, Jaden Saunders takes his defensive responsibilities very seriously.
The 5-foot-7 point guard from Dublin was eager to talk about his defensive prowess during a recent phone interview with Prep Hoops, and says it’s his defense that’s the catalyst for his offsene.
“My strength starts with the defensive side. The defense really gets me going,” said Saunders. “I like to play really strong on-ball defense and pressure-up so they can’t dribble up the floor or get anywhere. And make it tough to for the other team into their offense, and make it so their offense doesn’t flow at all.”
He added: “I feel like playing defense is what really pushes me throughout the game. It really helps the team, too. My teammates look at me as a leader, so, when I’m doing well on defense my teammates will join me.”
As a sophomore with the Gaels, Saunders worked his way up the ladder. And he used his defense and work-ethic to nab a starting spot by season’s end.
“In the beginning of the season I wasn’t starting or playing a lot, and that pushed me. I felt like I was one of the best players on the team, and that I wanted to be in that starting lineup,” he said. “Towards the middle of the season, I started playing more, and then I was starting.”
“It got better and better from there.”
Now, with his 16U offseason just weeks away, Saunders is looking to turn some heads this spring and summer. He say he’ll likely play with adidas program, Team Arsenal.
“I’m looking right now, and most likely will be playing with Team Arsenal. This would be my first year with them,” he said.
“This spring and summer, I’m really looking forward to having a good time. Basketball is my passion and I’m looking to have fun with that. But, I’m also looking for coaches to come see me and my team play.”
Saunders’ true team-first attitude will be on full-display this offseason. His mindset: if he does well, his teammates will get noticed more, too.
“I think with me being a key player on the team, that could open up doors for everyone else,” said Saunders.
“I’m hoping to get an offer this summer, because I think it’s important to have an offer going into your junior year, or to at least be on the radar.”
He added: “I’ve heard your junior year is the most important year, so I’d like to have an offer by the end of this summer.”