As an Indianapolis native, Mike Saunders, Jr. has been on the IU basketball radar for a long time.
While the 6-foot-1 class of 2020 point guard no longer plays in his hometown, the Hoosier coaching staff has continued to monitor him from afar, and a recent performance at the GEICO Nationals against 2019 5-star Cole Anthony sharpened that focus.
Impressed with the play of 2020 PG Mike Saunders Jr. (@icemikeg3) of Wasatch Academy (UT). A speedy point guard who has been making his way to the rim all afternoon and giving five star 2019 PG Cole Anthony a battle. Offers from DePaul, VCU, and others @WATigersBB.
— Samad Hines (@Samad_Hines) April 4, 2019
Saunders started as a freshman at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis and played there for two years before transferring to Wasatch Academy in Utah where he played the 2018-19 season.
Known for his speed, athleticism and defense, his head coach at Wasatch says this about him on the team’s website —
“Michael has worked very hard since arriving at Wasatch Academy. He is a relentless one-on-one defender and his defense sparks the rest of the team. He is great at pushing the ball and finding his teammates in the open court or in the offensive set. He continues to improve his shooting and team defense.”
Saunders averaged 11.8 points, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a junior at Wasatch.
While a leader on the floor, great in transition, a talented facilitator and a tenacious defender, there is one overarching concern when it comes to high major schools.
The primary question mark regarding Saunders has been his outside shooting ability. According to 247Sports ($), he has been working with shooting coach Joey Burton to make improvements. Burton has worked with other well known players including Yogi Ferrell and Carsen Edwards.
Saunders plays for the G3 Grind on the Under Armour Association circuit. Multiple recruiting services have reported that Indiana coaches have watched Saunders this spring.
In 11 games thus far on the UAA circuit, Saunders has averaged 13 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He hasn’t yet found his shooting touch this spring, making just 4-for-24 from long range and 56% from the free throw line.
Irrespective of his long range shot, Saunders has high-major caliber speed and an ability to finish at the rim to match.
Saunders received perhaps his most high profile offer to date in April when the University of Cincinnati extended, and he has received a slew mid-major offers.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Saunders is the No. 247 player in the 2020 class, but that is a ranking that looks destined to change significantly this summer. He was recently named to the ESPN Top 100 for his class, coming in at No. 96.
All three of these videos are from the spring of 2019 AAU season.
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