Damian Saunders Signs With BG Göttingen of the German Bundesliga
July 24, 2011
PITTSBURGH - Damian Saunders, who completed a standout career at Duquesne in March, has signed a contract to play professionally for BG Göttingen of the German Bundesliga.
The two-time Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year is the seventh player from DU's 2007-08 team to sign a professional contract. Of the seven, six are still playing overseas.
"I'm looking forward to new challenges," said Saunders, the only player in NCAA history to post more than 250 assists, steals and blocks. "I know the basketball in Germany is very competitive. I'm grateful for both the opportunity to play professionally and to continue to improve as a basketball player."
BG Göttingen, located in Göttingen, Niedersachsen, Germany, reached the playoff quarterfinals last season. In 2010, the Violets won the EuroChallenge.
Saunders set Duquesne career records for games (127), starts (116), steals (277), blocks (300) and dunks (166). He posted the third-most rebounds (1,019) and double-doubles (36) in school history and his .506 career field goal percentage ranked 10th all-time. His 1,511 points ranked 11th on the DU career list.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Damian will excel in Europe," said Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart. "He gave his best effort every time he stepped on the court at Duquesne and his competitiveness won't let him perform at anything less than a high level as a professional. I look for him to follow in the footsteps of his former teammates who are doing very well overseas."
The other players from the 2007-08 Duquesne team - the one that ended a streak of 13 consecutive losing DU seasons with a 17-13 record - who are still playing professionally are (with team they played for last year listed): Kieron Achara (Barcellona - Italy), Aaron Jackson (Bizkaia Bilbao - Spain), Reggie Jackson (Newcastle - Great Britain), Shawn James (Bnei-Hasharon - Israel) and Kojo Mensah (Panteras De Miranda - Venezuela).
Gary Tucker, a guard on the `08 team, played one season in Germany following his graduation.
Jackson, in his first season in a league widely recognized as the second-best in the world, helped Bilbao to its first appearance in the ACB Championship. James, who led the Israeli Super League in blocks in each of his three seasons with Bnei-Hasharon, signed a deal with perennial power Maccabi Tel Aviv in May. James was named 2009-10 All-Israeli League Centre of the Year by Eurobasket.com.