Will Saunders(Caldwell Academy) heads to Charleston Southern

Will Saunders, a 6’7/195 pound wing player from Caldwell Academy, committed to Charleston Southern University back during his season with College of Central Florida and here is the news on this commitment from www.cfpatriots,com, the official news site of College of Central Florida Athletics….

Saunders commits to Charleston Southern

When it came time to decide where he would continue his career as a student-athlete, the Charleston Southern men’s basketball program was too good to pass up for College of Central Florida sophomore Will Saunders.

Saunders recently committed to play for the CSU program and continues a pipeline from CF to the South Carolina-based program.

“I couldn’t think of any reason not to go there,” Saunders said. “They’ve got a system they play and they are one of the top teams in the nation in terms of 3-point attempts and makes.

“They’ve got a big gap next year on the wing and they want me to come in and hit the open shot and help them out on (defense). I think it’s one of the best fits for me as a player.”

Mathiang Muo and Allie Fullah, both former Patriot standouts, have been key figures in CSU’s 16-10 season so far.(2012/2013)

Muo now a senior, is averaging 11.4 points and making 43.3 percent from beyond the arc, while Fullah, who grew up in England with Saunders, has started 25 of 26 games this season for the Bucs.

“We’re excited for Will and he’s done an outstanding job for us,” CF coach Tim Ryan said. “He’s been a big part of two conference championship teams and he’ll leave here as one of the winningest players to ever play at our school.”

“Charleston Southern is going to be a great fit for him. In actuality, what he’s going to be doing is going and taking Muo’s spot, so we are very excited for him.”

It will be the second trip to South Carolina for Saunders, who signed with South Carolina-Upstate after prep school and redshirted, before he came to play for the Patriots.

“I know the area and I had a good time in South Carolina before,” Saunders said. “So I thought it would be a good fit.”

The chance to play with Fullah, his childhood friend, was something which was an added to incentive to Saunders moving on to CSU.

“To be honest, it was more like a bonus,” Saunders said. “I would have probably went there even if he hadn’t been there. Plus, the fact that they bring in JUCO guys every year and they are having success is great.

“The team is number one in their conference and they are battling for an NCAA bid, so that is some exciting stuff.”

Saunders chose CSU over Jacksonville, Gardner-Webb, Bradley, Troy and Kennesaw State.
He averaged 5.3 points per game last season in helping CF advance to the state championship game and was pleased with his choice to return to Ocala for his sophomore year.

“I could have left after my first year, but I stayed to try and get a better (four-year school),” Saunders said. “It was a good desicion to come back. I had the chance to start and I got my 3-point percentage up … and now we are ranked higher (this year) as a team, so it has been good.”

Saunders has been thrilled with his chance to make an impact on a team, which has assured itself of the best winning percentage for a single season in school history.
“We’ve got such a mismatch inside against every other team we play and then me, (Suarez, Davis, Wigginton) and the other guys who can come out and hit threes, we are going to be hard to guard,” he said. “As long as the bigs keep doing what they are doing and we make shots from the wing, we are going to be tough to beat.”

The Patriots, who are looking for their first state championship since 1996, know they won’t be able to sneak up on anyone at state.

The veterans on CF squad know what they have to do.

“We’ve got to push ourselves,” Saunders said. “We know teams are going to be just as good as us there at state talent-wise, so we have to differentiate ourselves.”

“We’ve got to play hard in practice and push ourselves to get ready for the physical play that we are going to face at states.”

By climbing to as high as No. 5 in the nation, CF has accomplished a great deal, but Saunders and company still have many goals left.

“We knew we had a bullseye on our backs,” Saunders said. “We got that from the second that we were ranked nationally. Northwest (Florida), Chipola and Palm Beach get that every night they too, so we get it just as much as they do.

“Now when we get to the state tournament, we know we won’t be the underdogs anymore. We’re expected to win, so it is going to be different this time around.The team chemistry and being around all of my brothers has been great. We’re a family.”

Saunders (6-7, 195), has averaged 10.9 points per game and has made 39.8 percent of his shots from 3-point range.

He scored a season-high of 23 on two occasions, the first time against Harcum (N.Y.) and the second against TAAG Academy.

Saunders also scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc in CF’s 23-point comeback in a 105-103 win over State College of Florida-Manatee.

“The game against Manatee at home when we won that, it was one of the best moments for me here,” Saunders said. “I contributed in it and that was a big team win. To start the home season like that was great.

“That along with (our trip to New York) and playing those teams up there was a good thing. We lost one, but it brought us together and we had some adversity up there, but it helped us get to where we are right now