Transfer Portal Guard Mike Saunders Jr. Talks BYU, Upcoming Decision

Apr 10, 2021, 4:50 PM
Mike Saunders Jr....
HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 21: Mike Saunders #3 of the Cincinnati Bearcats dishes a pass during the first half of a game against the Houston Cougars at the Fertitta Center on February 21, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Wasatch Academy guard Mike Saunders Jr. completed his first collegiate season at Cincinnati this past year. After starting in 10 games for the Bearcats, the 6-foot, 190-pound guard put his name into the Transfer Portal.

Since arriving in the Portal, many teams have expressed interest in the explosive guard who averaged 3.5 points, 1.4 assists, and 1.4 rebounds in 15 minutes of action per game. BYU is one of those programs that has shown interest in Saunders.


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Saunders discussed his current recruitment in the Transfer Portal with KSL Sports as he gets ready to make his decision coming up on April 15th.

Life in the Transfer Portal for Mike Saunders Jr.

“It was definitely a very crazy time when I first started with the whole [Transfer Portal] process, with coaches calling and texting. But you know, I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of ready for this to be done. Kind of ready to just make my decision and live with it. Hopefully, it all works out soon.”

Along with BYU, Saunders told KSL Sports that Wichita State reached out on Thursday and has been in talks with him. Others include Toledo, DePaul from the Big East Conference, and Cincinnati. The Bearcats let go of head coach John Brannen, so Saunders noted their next move at head coach plays a role in his upcoming decision.\

Saunders grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, but he has connections to the state of Utah. He concluded his high school career at Wasatch Academy, and one of his mentors in life is former Utah Jazzman George Hill. Hill currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers.

While at Wasatch Academy, Saunders was a teammate with a handful of BYU players/signees. Most notably, Caleb Lohner. Saunders referred to Lohner as “one of my favorite teammates I’ve played with.”

Saunders helped lead Wasatch Academy to a 27-2 record in his senior year and averaged 14.4 points, 3.9 assists, and 1.8 rebounds per game at the Mt. Pleasant, Utah program.

What Saunders will provide his next team

Whichever team ends up getting Saunders is getting a guard looking to improve his game next year and beyond.

“I feel like I’m at my best when I have the ball in my hands I’m just about to make plays for others,” said Saunders. “You know, I’ve always been a guy that’s pass-first and I’ve always tried to get my guys involved. But that’s my best ability. … Right now, what I’ve really been working on is my shooting. The knock on me is that I’m not a consistent shooter. But I’ve been really working on it for sure and I feel like I’m going to prove to everybody this coming year that I can shoot the ball. I’m really excited about the next chapter for sure. I’m just ready to play.”

Saunders will make his decision on Thursday via his personal social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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