DUBLIN — Sayaun Dent knew almost from the start of recruiting that he would probably end up at Lander University. On Thursday, the West Bladen senior inked his intentions to play his college basketball for the Bearcats in Greenwood, S.C.
“Anytime we talked about any other school, he would always bring up Lander,” said West Bladen coach Travis Pait.
There were several other choices along the way. Dent made visits to Newberry College in South Carolina, along with Fayetteville State and Mount Olive in North Carolina. He also was being looked at by Campbell, Elizabeth City State, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Pembroke and Winston-Salem State.
But several factors led Dent to choose Lander.
“I really liked the campus and the basketball staff there,” he said. “Plus. it’s got a nice chemistry program, which is what I plan to major in.”
It also didn’t hurt that Dent will be joining former Knights star guard Rahu Purdie on the Bearcats’ roster.
“It’ll be good to play with him again,” Dent said.
During his high-school career, Dent has been a three-year starter and won 60 games during that span. The Knights were 22-5 his sophomore year, 20-8 his junior season and 18-10 his senior year. Dent averaged 17 points per game and eight rebounds a game as a senior. He was also a two-time all-conference first team player, as well as a two-time MVP of West Bladen’s Woodman Life Christmas Tournament.
“We have probably one of the best, if not the best holiday tournament in the state,” Pait said. “It’s has a very stromng field, so to be a two-time MVP is really special.”
But Dent realizes that college will be an entirely new level of basketball.
“I’m hoping to play right away, but I know I’ve got to get stronger and work on my shooting,” he said.
Dent — who is 6-foot, 3-inches and 180 pounds — will also be utilized full-time as a guard at Lander. With West Bladen, he was used in a number of slots from No. 1 to No. 4, but primarily on the wing.
“I think this will be a good fit for Sayaun,” Pait said. “I’ve never had to worry about Sayaun’s work ethic. He’s smart, he’s a hard worker and he’s part of a great family.”
The Dent family is also looking forward to Sayaun playing at Lander.
“This is a good opportunity for him — he will be able to continue doing what he enjoys doing,”said Sayaun’s mom Crystal. “We know chemistry will be a challenge, but I’m confident he can handle it.”
The Bearcats play out of the Peach Belt Conference. They were 12-18 overall last season and 7-11 in the conference.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.