Marquee Prospect Saunders Commits To Harvard

Published by Dennis J. Zheng on October 07, 2010 at 3:11AM

Harvard men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker and his staff are clearly on a roll—and the scariest part is, they might not even be done yet.

Windward High’s Wesley Saunders (Los Angeles, Calif.) verbally committed to joining the Crimson earlier today, just a few days after Corbin Miller (Salt Lake City, Utah) gave a commitment of his own.

A 6’6, 205-lb forward who averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds per game his junior season, Saunders is the No. 80 prospect in the nation according to Rivals.com.

“What Harvard is getting is a top-level Division-I player,” said Jack Davis of CaliHighSports.com, which ranks him 16th in the state. “They’re getting a guy who can play three positions, a guy who I think could physically dominate other Ivy League players, and a guy who’s just scratching the surface of his potential.”

ESPN.com grades Saunders at an 86, calling him “one of the most debated prospects in the [W]est.”

“He’s a great physical specimen, but he needs to work on his shooting, he needs to work on his ball-handling,” Davis said. “His finer skills haven’t developed, because he was a kid who was 6’5 when he was in 8th grade.”

“In my professional opinion, he’s one of the top five best players in California,” said Miguel Villegas, Saunders’ coach at Windward. “For him to go to Harvard, it’s a steal for them...what Harvard got in Wesley Saunders was definitely the steal of the year. When you turn down two Pac-10 schools—SC and Colorado—to go to Harvard, that says a lot.”

Saunders had told The Crimson a few days ago that his final five schools were Harvard, Colorado, USC, Loyola Marymount, and Penn. He made an official visit to Cambridge this past weekend, where he was joined by Miller and Chicago big man Mike Turner.

“What makes him so good is his versatility,” Villegas said. “He’s a point-forward. The open court is where he does most of his things—he can push the rock, he can pass the ball, he’s a great teammate, he’s unselfish, he can score the basketball. He’s very talented.”

“At Harvard, they see me playing a wing-type,” Saunders said Tuesday. “What they were saying is that I’m really different from other players they have on the team in that I like to get to the basket, so they see me as an athletic three-man, who can be a playmaker that can create for the other players on the team, as well as get my points when they’re needed.”

“In the Ivy League, he’s going to be able to guard anyone from a one to a four,” Villegas added. “He’s so long and got great footwork. He knows how to play defense.”

Harvard’s future class of 2015 is currently made up of Saunders, Miller, Kenyatta Smith (Brea, Calif.), and Jonah Travis (Minneapolis, Minn.).

Guards Andre Hollins and Spencer Dinwiddie are among the top targets remaining for Amaker and his assistant coaches.

“If Spencer Dinwiddie goes to Harvard, they’ll win the Ivy League championship next year,” Davis said.