Big Rapids, Mich. - Another former Ferris State University student-athlete has received an opportunity to play professionally and continue his basketball career.
Former FSU men's basketball standout Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) recently signed a contract to play professional hoops overseas in Germany with the BG Bonn Meckenheim club in one of the country's top leagues.
"It's a dream come true," Sanders said, in a recent interview with the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com. "I put a lot of hard work and dedication in to get to this point and I couldn't have done it without my family structure. I have a strong family foundation, and I had a lot of good coaches at Creston and Ferris that taught me how to play basketball the right way."
Sanders concluded his Bulldog career in 2011-12 while helping Ferris State to a second consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championship. He totaled 11.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and five assists per game in his final season with the Bulldogs while ranking third among the team's scoring leaders and second in rebounding in addition to starting all 27 contests.
In his initial season with the Bulldogs during the 2010-11 season, Sanders played a key role during the season's first seven games prior to suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Bulldogs eventually went on to reach the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen while capturing the first of back-to-back GLIAC North Division crowns.
Before the injury, Sanders made a big impression with a successful debut in a near-upset exhibition game against the Big Ten Conference's Indiana Hoosiers followed by a highlight-reel dunk on the road versus Kentucky Wesleyan that landed him on ESPN's Top 10 Plays.
The 6-6 forward initially joined the Ferris State program at the semester break during the 2009-10 campaign. Prior to his arrival at FSU, Sanders spent two seasons at Columbus State (Ohio) Community College where he led the Cougars to a 29-4 mark and a trip to the national tournament. He was a two-sport prep standout at Grand Rapids Creston in football and basketball before embarking on his collegiate career.
Along with BG Bonn Meckenheim, Sanders also had several other professional offers from teams in Luxembourg, Brazil and Germany. He was noticed while earning Most Valuable Player honors at the 16th annual Slammers Basketball Pro-Tryout Tournament held June 14-16 in Bonn, Germany.
Sanders is expected to depart for Germany in mid-August with preseason workouts starting Aug. 20 before the regular season tips off two weeks later.
Several former Bulldog standouts have had an opportunity to compete at the professional level in the past decade on the hardwood. Among others, former standout point guard Dennis Springs spent time overseas before playing professionally in the International Basketball League (IBL) with the Holland Blast. In addition, former forward Terrance Shaw has ranked among the IBL's top scoring leaders for several seasons while playing with several different teams.
Meanwhile, All-America forward Justin Keenan, who earned Division II National Player of the Year honors in 2010-11, recently wrapped up his second season as a standout professional in Uruguay while another former Bulldog, guard Kenny Brown, received a tryout with the NBA's Detroit Pistons prior to this year's NBA Draft after wrapping up his FSU career this past season.