Albany’s Larry Sanford averaged 15 points, four rebounds and four assists a game as a senior. (Herald file photo)
ALBANY — There were times when Larry Sanford simply took over — a moment, a run and the game.
That’s just one of the reasons he was invaluable to Albany High and the deep run the Indians made in the Class AA state basketball playoffs this past season.
Now Sanford is moving on to Marion Military Institute, a junior college in Alabama, where he hopes to play there and then move on to a Division I program.
“I talked to some other schools, but they had already signed their point guard earlier,’’ said Sanford, who signed with Marion last Friday. “My plan is to go there a year or two and then transfer to a Division I school.’’
Marion is getting a gem.
Sanford, a 6-foot point guard, was a four-year starter at Albany High and helped lead the Indians to a 25-3 record and berth in the Class AA Elite Eight.
“He was a big part of the reason we were able to do what we did. You don’t see too many teams go 25-3 without a good point guard,’’ Albany High coach Archie Chatmon said. “He was our point guard for four years and each year he got better. To me, he was the best point guard in Southwest Georgia. We’re really going to miss him.’’
Sanford averaged 15 points, four rebounds and four assists per game, and he often took over the game during different stretches, including a 26-point night in a 66-57 win against Westover during which Sanford scored 24 of his points in the second half.
He was a clutch player who made big shots at crucial times, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send a game against Cook into overtime. Sanford had a huge fourth quarter against state-ranked Thomasville on the road in a win that gave Albany the top seed in the region.
But Chatmon said Sanford was just as good — if not better — defensively.
“Look what he was able to do with his size for us,’’ Chatmon said. “He was a tremendous defender and we used him to defend three different positions. Not many people have a point guard you can switch to defend a small forward and a power forward.’’
Sanford plans to major in pre-law and later become an attorney. There was no plea-bargaining during basketball season for Sanford or the Indians. Sanford said the team was out to make a point.
“There was a lot of talk last summer about how we weren’t going to go too far this year,’’ he said. “People (around the city) were saying we were going to have a short season. We wanted to prove them wrong.’’