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Notre Dame Basketball

2022 AZ Forward Elijah Saunders Taking Notre Dame Official

August 30, 2021

After announcing his Top 5 last week and taking an official visit to San Diego State this past weekend, 2022 Arizona forward Elijah Saunders‍ will take an official visit to Notre Dame this coming weekend.

On Thursday, the Sunnyslope High School standout released a list of favorites that included the Irish and the Aztecs along with Virginia Tech, Miami and South Carolina.

Sunnyslope head coach Ray Portela wasn’t sure of official visit dates for the other three schools, but believes Saunders will visit each as well.

“He looks like an NFL tight end,” Portela said of Saunders. “He's 6-8, probably 240. For a high school player, his physical frame, you don't see that every day.

“Plus, with a guy that big who can move quickly, he can guard guys out on the perimeter. He shoots the three extremely well and stretches the floor. As a player, he presents problems. You don't see kids like this in high school very much.”

Portela called Saunders “a great guy” off the court.

“And when I say that, I totally mean it,” the coach continued. “Great parents. His parents have done a great job of raising a fine young man. He's very respectable, gets along with all of his teammates, a natural leader. I couldn't say enough about the kid. He's been a joy for us to coach.”

Portela said the mix of what Notre Dame can offer long-term and Mike Brey’s program helped the Irish make the cut.

“I think just the combination of what they do and their basketball program,” he said. “Coach Brey has done an outstanding job over the years.

“They do an outstanding a job with their fours and fives, their big men. Notre Dame itself with the academics, the connections you get at that school. It's a top-notch institution.

Saunders’ timeline for a final decision isn’t clear at the moment.

“I don't know. I haven't talked to them about that. He's mentioned maybe trying to get it done before the season starts, but a lot of the decision is up to him and his family. We answer questions when need be, but it's his decision for what's going to be the next four or five years of his life.”

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