Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sanborn: Playing large at Guilford College

(NOTE: I wrote this for the Surry Messenger in 2008. I was laid off in Jan. 2009, and the paper died in 2010.)

Sanborn: I want to do something that'll make me happy

By Tom Gillispie

GREENSBORO — Hard work is the simple key to success for Tyler Sanborn, a 2006 graduate of Elkin High and a starting center for the Guilford College basketball team.

"I definitely feel my biggest weakness was conditioning," he said. "I was about 280 then. I'm about 235 or 230."

The 280 was covering a 6-10 frame, but Sanborn moves better now.

"I started a physical conditioning program when I came to Guilford," Sanford said. "I wasn't used to that. We ran at Elkin, but nothing like this. I'm starting to gain more muscle, and I've improved offensively.

"At Elkin, I was bigger than everyone else. I could have done more there."

Sanborn, now a junior, says he twice attended a Pete Newell basketball camp in Las Vegas and worked against some of the best post players in the world.

"I went the last two years," he said. "The first year, my family took on the burden. Last year, my friends did some fundraising. It was a great experience. I was on the campus of Nevada-Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center. I met Coach Newell."

Sanborn said that he was afraid that a Division III player like himself would be overlooked among the big-time athletes. He needed have worried."

"He [Newell] talked to me, and I felt he cared," Tyler said. We did a lot of intensive footwork, and it helped a lot. You can't use all of the moves; you can't put them all in. You can only focus on two or three."

So he has his two or three moves. Now, his next move is to get stronger, thus improving his game.

"I need to focus on converting easy baskets," he said.

Tyler says the Guilford coaching staff is phenomenal.

"They recruited me hard [when he was at Elkin], but I didn't pay a lot of attention," Tyler said. "I was looking at bigger schools."

Then he realized he'd get more individualized attention at Guilford.

"They always had somebody on my back, trying to get me better," he said. "If they're not saying something, they don't care. They gave up on you. They provide excellent motivation."

Tyler says that, so far, his great accomplishment is to simply get better as a basketball player.

"That's all you can do, just get better every day," he said. "It's a matter of self realization. At Elkin, I didn't work hard. At Guilford, I know that I won't play if I don't work hard."

And Coach Tom Palombo and his staff are getting the work out of him.

"I'm definitely happy I chose Guilford," he said Tuesday. "I had bigger offers from Division II schools, but I would have had to redshirt. I wouldn't have had a chance to play right away."

He's third on the Quakers in scoring at 12.5 points a game, and he leads the team with 13 rebounds a game. He's shooting 40.8 percent from the floor, but he needs work from the foul like (45.5 percent).

The Quakers were 4-1 through Nov. 25, with wins over Methodist, Greensboro, Texas-Tyler and Averett, plus a 75-66 loss to Texas-Dallas. Their next game is Tuesday at home against N.C. Wesleyan.

Tyler had 18 points against Methodist, with 16 rebounds against Texas-Dallas and 13 against Greensboro. He blocked six shots against Texas-Tyler and five against Greensboro.

He says his potential depends on how hard he works, particularly in the weight room and on footwork drills. He's trying to handle a double major in business management and sports management.

"If I don't finish both, I'll come back," he said. "I want to play professionally, then go to graduate school after basketball."

Tyler has fallen in love with the idea of playing professionally overseas.

"I hear you can make a good living doing that, and it'd be a great experience," he said.

He says he'd like to work in the front office for the NBA or another sports franchise after a shot at playing professionally. Or his calling might be something different.

"I just want to do something that'll make me happy," he said.

CONTACT: Email me at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

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(the book of great NASCAR stories)

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