We recently spoke highly of Sunnyslope High School's talented and strong 6-foot-8 junior forward Elijah Saunders in August, and the gifted 2022 prospect proved us very right, as he recently showcased his growing talent against some talented opposition in the recent Arizona End of Summer Showcase. Saunders had a big breakout performance in the event, and left scouts in attendance wanting for more.
Saunders was set up to play with the heavily Nike-sponsored Vegas Elite club program this spring and summer, but the COVID pandemic caused Saunders to miss out on what have been a huge spring and summer for him in his college recruitment. While he did get to play with Vegas Elite in a few events, they were dead period events and void of any Division-I coaches. While some scouts have definitely seen him recently, which will benefit him over time in his recruitment, an opportunity to be seen by coaches that could extend immediate offers to him was missed out on.
As a result, his college recruitment has not soared as expected yet, but it will, as this young man has loads of potential and a body and athleticism that are already college-ready. He also has a nice overall skill-set for the game and is able to make shots from the perimeter, and overpower low-post defenders around the basket. He is quick off his feet and has excellent explosion off the ground. He also runs the floor hard and is a strong rebounder - all assets that suggest he is a prospect on a major rise in the right direction.
Currently, Saunders has one offer to his credit from South Dakota, but over the next year, look for him to garner much more recruiting interest and round into one of top recruited prospects in the class. This is a prospect that is unlike many other prospects at his position in the West, as a result of his body, skill-set and pop off the floor. He should become one of the state's hottest prospects in the 2022 Class, while others in the class are currently receiving much higher recruitment.
Saunders will round out an amazing front-line next season for Sunnyslope. Saunders will team up with 6-foot-10 senior post Carson Basham (Pepperdine commit) and 6-foot-8 junior forward Grady Lewis when the 2020-2021 high school basketball season commences - giving Sunnyslope the most talented and imposing front-line in the state.
I will continue to follow Saunders closely over the next season, and look to bring you recruiting updates on him as they develop.