The Christmas holiday season is one where families strive to be together, but that isn´t always the case around the world as probably hit the hardest are the many American soldiers who are stationed around the world serving and protecting their country and trying to be soothed somehow by a Sykpe session even if it isn´t the same thing as seeing that bright smile of their small child wo isn´t only asking mommy where Santa is, but where is daddy? Having that Skype experience is still better than being totally shut out from having any contact with the family. However it isn´t just the military that have to suffer during the holiday season, but also many other different cultures around the globe where jobs interfere with any kind of family bonding and one of those is being that professional basketball player who is making a living somewhere around the globe. At least the NBA heavy weights like a Lebron James or Steph Curry can have their families around them on Christmas day even if they are playing that famous Christmas day game while many others who are playing in lower leagues in Europe opt to remain there and cope as best they can with the holiday time without their loved ones. Vincent Sanford is one of those players who currently is in Germany playing for third division team TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg (Germany-ProB) and is seeing the Christmas time from a different perspective in Germany. The Lexington native who might have a better chance seeing legendary head coach Rick Pitino in his home town around Christmas than Wurzburg native Dirk Nowitzki who has been in Dallas or another city in the States since arriving in the NBA in 1998 has learned to forget some of that pre-Christmas time from home like seeing the charm of the Lexington parade or watching the little one´s eyes light up when they can witness the horses of light race by checking out what Wurzburg has to offer before Christmas. Just checking out Germany´s famous Christmas market which is present in just about every big city is a must for any American and Sanford´s mood has been on a good level as Christmas time in Germany is a totally new, but enjoyable experience for him. “Wurzburg is a great city with nice people. But just seeing the Christmas ornaments down in the city the lights and all makes me realize how close it is”, added Vincent Sanford. But one thing is for sure, the American will never forget where he came from and even now as a grown up at the tender age of 26 remembers the tradition of Christmas when he was still a kid wondering what Santa had left him in his stocking. “Every year opening the gifts and then watching the movie A Christmas Story, is something that became annual in my household”, said Vincent Sanford.
After playing his first two professional seasons in Iceland and Columbia, the 190cm guard came late to Germany this season as the struggling TG s.Oliver Wuerzburg was looking for a scoring guard that would bolster their offense. So far, the club has a 1-2 record since the arrival of the American, but surprisingly had to face top team Weissenhorn back to back, beat them once, but lost the other game by only three points. In those two games he was challenged by Weissenhorn guard David Kramer who is a BBL license player and Marcel Pongo who has a big future ahead of him. “I really like the kid Kramer He has a bright future, very competitive has size and can shoot the ball really well. Pongo is very good too! He has a knack at penetrating and getting to the line. Good young talent. The ex Georgetown guard is confident that the club is on a good way and remembers his days at Dayton where he was in a similar situation “I definitely feel that this club can make strides. Without a doubt the year we went to the elite 8 at Dayton we started the conference 1-5 ended up finishing fifth in the Atlantic 10 and making it to the NCAA elite 8. Ask Dyshawn Pierre how rough that A10 start was for us. lt´s all about how you finish”, warned Vincent Sanford. The ex Dayton standout has had absolutely had no adjustment time as he has come in and dominated scoring 26, 28 and 23 points and seems that there will be no stopping him either in the next games as the German Pro B fits his style as his self-confidence also seems to be on the same page as his basketball abilities. “This whole off season I’ve worked on every part of my game. Boxing yoga etc. I also know I am a high-level player and playing Pro B is a good opportunity to showcase my ability. The talent is legit here”, added Vincent Sanford. It also hasn´t hurt that his new teammate Marcellus Barksdale is a guy he understood right away on and off the court. “Marcellus is a guy I’ve known for years and train with back home in Kentucky. I’ve always appreciated his IQ, and his intangibles far as playing and defending multiple positions. He is also a great person off the court as well and does a lot in the community back home”, expressed Vincent Sanford. When you look at his game and stat line each game, the first thing that comes to mind is pure scorer, but the American sees another strength in his game that his team can always benefit from, but isn´t always noticed right away, “I try to lead by example and I tell the younger guys like Lukas Marvin and George always next play if something doesn’t go right. I’d like to say leadership though because when I play I try my best to leave everything on the floor like it’s my last”, stressed Vincent Sanford.
Sanford put up big stats in his first two seasons in Iceland and Columbia, but won no titles. As a rookie he played for Thor Thorl (Iceland-Dominos League) playing 13 games averaging 22.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 2.1apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 73.0%. He had a 42 game explosion against Ir. One would have thought that he would have had some very unusual experiences in a country that is known for it´s nature and beauty as well as it brisk winters, but surprisingly the American had no exotic meeting with a polar bear or artic fox, but remembers how strange it was being in a totally different place than Lexington for Christmas. “, I was like wow I’m in Thorlakshofn Iceland who would’ve ever thought. My bro Vance Hall played out there, he may have been a bit more adjusted than me. But Iceland was definitely a great experience as a rookie”, stressed Vincent Sanford. Currently after three games, the stats of Sanford are better than what he put up in Iceland, but what league was more challenging there or Germany? “ Right now it’s kind of hard to tell, the year I played in Iceland there were a lot of vets trying to get their names back out like Will Graves who plays top league in Israel. I like the talent the younger guys have here. And the American imports are very good as well here”, warned Vincent Sanford. Last season the American continued his professional career with Barrancabermeja Ciudad Futuro (Colombia-Liga DirecTV) playing 20 games averaging 14.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 3.0apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT-2(42.9%), FT: 76.8%. This experience wasn´t much of a challenge, but if you thought Columbia is only known as the country of soccer and coffee, it isn´t as there are also very capable guys that can ball there. “It was a big adjustment coming from Iceland. A lot of people do not realize that the guys in Colombia are very athletic and strong also 4 Americans on most of the teams. It was a great experience though”, added Vincent Sanford.
He had a very stellar high school career at Lexington Catholic High School where he played for head coach Brandon Salsman and as a senior he averaged 22.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.4 assists a game. He led Lexington Catholic to a 26-8 record, where they were ranked ninth and got to the Kentucky Elite 8, where he was named to the All-Tournament Team. He was named a McDonald’s All-American nominee and was ranked 30th nationally by Scout.com for point guards. It was only fitting that he would go to a well known school and did going to Georgetown, but the experience turned out a lot different than he would have liked. In two seasons he played 54 games averaging only 1,2ppg as a freshman and 2,4ppg in his second season. The club was overstocked with great guard talent like Chris Wright and Markel Starks and Sanford became the odd man out, and felt like he was overlooked a bit.” Those first two years were definitely hard as far as minutes. But Chris and Markel are more traditional point guards which was needed to run the Princeton compared to myself a combo guard that can score in bunches. So it was really more about fitting than anything else. I was overlooked for sure but I was also playing behind great guards, Chris Wright Austin Freeman Jason Clark and splitting time with Markel. That was one of the best backcourts in the Big East at the time. I learned a lot from those guys, “, stressed Vincent Sanford. In his two seasons at Georgetown, he didn´t play much, but also the club had little success despite having amazing overwhelming talent like players Greg Monroe, Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson, Chris Wright, Jason Clark and Jerrelle Benimon. “We always matched up with dangerous and hungry mid major teams. Which is like a nightmare for most big time teams because the smaller schools play with a chip on their shoulders. I was fortunate to be on the other side when I transferred to Dayton”, added Vincent Sanford. The American who lists NBA player Kemba Walker and Isaiah Thomas as being the hardest guys to guard is still thankful for the Georgetown experience, because it taught him to be calm and soak in the opportunity to compete with great talent each day. “Georgetown was a great experience it really taught me to be patient with the process and appreciate the learning experience. I saw John Thompson in every practice. And the guys you listed are either in the NBA or playing top league somewhere. It was great playing with those guys”, stressed Vincent Sanford. He then preceded to move to Dayton(NCAA) where he finished his last two years of school and as a junior played 31 games averaging 12.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 82.1%. He scored in double figures in 23 games. As a senior he played 37 game averaging 9.6ppg, 2.7rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 69.8%. His best game was against Murray State where he scored 23 points, had six boards, gave out three dimes and grabbed three steals. He also helped the team with teammates like Jordan Sibert and Dyshawn Pierre reach the elite 8 in 2014. He might of scored less as a senior and had a different role, but Sanford knew that his head coach Archie Miller had a plan that benefited the team and his player. “Arch taught me how to embrace my roll. I started every game my junior year averaging around 12.13, ppg I believe but my senior year he wanted me to come off the bench and be the 6th man. It knocked me down some points, but was definitely a good move for the team, he helped me understand just buying into the system and to be a pro playing every game hard. And to compete I can say every guy Archie Miller gets his hands on will compete to the fullest”, warned Vincent Sanford. Now in his third season in the pro´s, Sanford has the role of being the scorer and that guy that carries the team with TG s.Oliver Wurzburg, but one thing is for sure no matter what role he has or where he is playing in the world, Sanford will always compete to the fullest.