Sanders presence sparks Bears on the court
By Pat Turner
During his time with the Bears, he’s shown his ability to run the offense as a point guard, while also proving to be a top-notch shooting guard. In addition, he crashes the boards with authority, and comes up with steals regularly on defense.
While creating plays consistently, Sanders is also known as Brennan’s energizer. He’s the one who lights the spark, especially during those tense matches when the Bears need a jumpstart.
Sanders has ignited plenty of fire as his 20.6-point average, 112 assists, 40 steals and 195 rebounds throughout Brennan’s District 28-6A champion season.
The senior guard looks to spread the energy even more during playoffs, beginning with a bi-district meeting against Madison Monday at Northside Gym.
“Jacari brings a lot,” teammate Jayden Moore said. “He is a role model to this team. He picks us up with the big plays. When we’re down, he takes charge. We all want to follow in his footsteps.”
Junior forward Norman Beckford gets the same vibes.
“Jacari has meant a lot to us these past three years,” Beckford said. “He makes an impact. He brings the energy.”
Making an impact is exactly what Sanders set out to do this season. The guard knew he had the skills to create excitement. At the same time, he wanted to set the tone as a leader.
The best example comes from his versatility. Sanders has worked every phase of the game to make sure things are clicking. He can be deadly as a scorer from the outside and when driving the paint. At the same time, Sanders gets a thrill from setting up opportunities for teammates.
Sanders has a variety of options as evident of the work from Beckford, Moore, Kyle Castille and Shaydon Campbell.
“I like being a two-way guard,” Sanders said. “I want to be able to do different things. I really like passing the ball. When I was younger, I played up (in club basketball) and didn’t have a chance to score a lot of times. So, I had to learn to pass. I started working more a shooting guard when I got older and that helped my game.”
Brennan coach Koty Cowgill is fully-aware of Sanders’ versatility and uses it every way possible.
“Jacari does a lot for this team,” Cowgill said. “The other plays feed off him. He’s outgoing and makes plays on both ends. He takes care of the ball. We’ve moved him around more than we have in the past. We try to get him the ball, because he brings the energy.”
It’s been quite a run for Brennan this season. Injuries hammered the Bears in the early stages, but they braved through the adversity and have been on an impressive run as evident of their 25-6 season record and 17-1 run through 28-6A.
Sanders believes the momentum from the 28-6A championship can be an advantage in the post-season.
“We play together,” Sanders said. “Once we get on a roll, we’re get a lot of confidence. I’m pleased with how we’re playing. We want to keep improving every day.”