116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana All-Star Zion Sanders is ready for a challenge, even if it's going to take her down an unexpected path.
Just last summer, Sanders was chosen as one of the six best players in her class in Indiana. She was preparing for a big senior season and, likely, several scholarship offers.
But an ill-timed knee injury, and the subsequent surgery, altered those plans for the incoming Iowa women's basketball walk-on.
Sanders was one of six players selected to the core junior all-star team last season, making her a front-runner to be selected for the senior team.
But then she suffered a knee injury and had surgery a short time later, forcing her to miss the remainder of the summer and about the first half of her senior season. Sanders returned to average about 7 points per game in 10 games, which was enough to be selected to the Indiana All-Star team.
The knee injury didn't cost her a spot on the all-star team, but the scholarships never matriculated. The University of Evansville - located in Sanders' hometown - kept its offer on the table. But no others rolled in.
Sanders had a choice: walk on somewhere, with Iowa and Clemson being the top options, or accept the scholarship offer to Evansville. In the end, Sanders wants to embrace the challenge of being a walk-on at Iowa. She still has to make the team, however, and will go through a tryout process.
'It wasn't big on me, but I knew I have what it takes that if I did walk on somewhere, I could eventually get a scholarship,” Sanders said. 'That's what I'm trying to do at Iowa. It took a real big toll on me to get my knee prepared, but it's given me this opportunity.”
Sanders visited Iowa two years ago before her knee injury and the trip made a lasting impression.
'As soon as I went there I knew I wanted to go there and be a part of everything,” she said.
The expectations for Sanders are simple: help her teammates improve and prepare for games, while getting her game to a maximum level.
'It's really big they thought of me in that way,” Sanders said. 'I”m excited to get there and help them out.”