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MINONK — To Brady Sanders, the basketball program at Illinois Wesleyan University reminds him a lot of the Fieldcrest boys basketball program.
That’s part of the reason Sanders decided to play for the IWU, an NCAA Division III program located in Bloomington.
“The atmosphere was awesome,” Sanders said. “Their fan section is awesome, the band is awesome. It’s kind of like our place with the fan section. I just liked it a lot.
“(IWU) is always good. They’re going to loaded again next year. Coming from a winning program in Fieldcrest, it’s nice to go to a program where you’re going to have a similar winning percentage.”
Sanders chose the Titans, who went 23-6, won the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin and reached the NCAA Division III Tournament Sweet 16 last season, over Elmhurst College.
“I really liked coach (Ron) Rose. I liked Elmhurst’s coach a lot too, but Wesleyan is 30 minutes from home and I like that about it,” Sanders said. “It’s a great school. They’re really good. I just liked Wesleyan better.”
Sanders was the NewsTribune Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a junior and an NT All-Area First-Team selection as a senior.
He averaged 17.8 points, an area-best 5.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds to help the Knights to a 25-6 record, Heart of Illinois Conference regular season and tournament titles and the Class 2A Eureka Regional championship.
“I’m losing one of the best point guards we’ve ever had, and we’ve had a lot of good ones,” Fieldcrest coach Matt Winkler said. “He’s just a hard-nosed player. He could get to the rim against anybody and could finish or get fouled. He has a top-notch basketball IQ.
“He just hated to lose. I think that’s one of his biggest assets. He’s such a competitor.”
Sanders plans to study business.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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