Los Angeles Preps: Tom Gilder

Windward's Wesley Saunders wins on and off the court

March, 24, 2011
Wesley SaundersDave KeeferWesley Saunders leads Windward in nearly offensive and defensive category this season.

LOS ANGELES -- When talk typically takes place about some of the Southland's premier prep basketball players, the name Wesley Saunders is mentioned. And rightfully so, considering the 6-foot-5 senior forward from Los Angeles Windward High is one of best around.

Make no mistake, hitting jumpers from the perimeter, battling for position underneath the basket for rebounds, handing out assists to wide-open teammates and elevating high above the rim to block opponents shots are skills that separate Saunders from his peers.

His undeniable talents on the hardwood, however, do not define him.

As good he is on the court, Saunders is equally talented off the court.

Finding a balance between basketball and the books might be difficult for some, but not Saunders. He has proven to be the consummate student-athlete this season and is largely responsible for guiding the Wildcats (26-8 overall) to the CIF Division IV State championship game against Richmond Salesian (25-11) on Saturday at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento. The opening tipoff is for 11:15 a.m.

“Wesley is special, a ball and a hoop aren't the only things that matter to him. Education comes first and that's different in this day and age,'' Windward coach Miguel Villegas said.

Saunders carries a high grade-point average and he scored more than 1800 on the SAT.

On all-important game days, Saunders is similarly focused.

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