Today in Celtics history: Frankie Sanders born

Today, January 23rd, is the 60th anniversary of former Boston Celtics small forward Frankie Sanders.

Sanders, a college star who averaged 26 points and ten rebounds per game when he played for Southern University, was drafted as the 20th pick of the 1978 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. Something of a tragic story, Sanders trashed what looked to be a promising career with substance abuse, effectively parting his way out of the NBA. This was likely a major factor behind the poor play (6 points and 2.7 boards per game) which led the Spurs to waive the rookie just 22 games into his first season in the league.

Sanders in San Antonio
The Celtics picked him up, and he finished the season with Boston, playing 24 games and averaging 5.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game - not enough to warrant keeping him on in their eyes. They did manage to parlay his contract into a second-round pick via the Indiana Pacers, who signed him but ultimately cut him before the regular season. Sanders was out of the league for the entire next season, but would play one more year with the Kansas City Kings the following season, seeing his game decline even further to just 3.8 points and .9 rebounds per game.

Sanders' career would continue at lower levels of play, as would his substance abuse problems, but with numbers like what he was averaging before coming into the NBA, you have to wonder what his demons did to destroy what could have been. If you'd like to read more about Frankie, be sure to check this long-form article by tb727.

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