PLAYER PROFILE

RUSTY SAUNDERS

STATISTICS & HISTORY

Rusty Saunders was the son of an early pro basketball player, Jack Saunders, who appeared briefly in the National Basketball League before the turn of the century. By the time he was 15 years old, the young Saunders was a strapping six-footer who weighed over 200 pounds and was prominent in the Trenton city basketball league that was dotted with tough ex- professional players. Saunders made his major league debut with his hometown Trenton club in 1924. The next year, he signed with Brooklyn entry in the new American Basketball League. Early in the season, he was traded to Washington. The 19-year-old Saunders was the surprise sensation of the 1925-26 ABL season. He led the league in points scored and then repeated the feat again in 1926-27. He was sold to Fort Wayne in the middle of 1927-28 season, were he starred for the next three and half years. The Hoosiers got to the ABL finals in 1928 and 1929, but were crushed both times by the Original Celtics. They made it to the finals once again in 1931, but lost to the Brooklyn Visitation. In the early 1930s, Saunders returned to his hometown for two seasons.  He led Trenton to the Eastern Basketball League title in 1932-33. Trenton moved into the reconstructed ABL for the 1933-34 season. Trenton won 14 of 15 games to capture the first half of the split season. Saunders led all scorers in the playoffs, but the Moose succumbed to the SPHAS in six games. Saunders remained in the ABL for three more seasons, before he signed with the barnstorming Original Celtics for three seasons in the late 1930’s. In 1940, Dutch Dehnert signed Saunders to National Basketball League contract with Detroit Eagles, but injuries and age had robbed him of his skills and he was released at mid-season. Saunders left behind a legacy of hard work and unbridled determination to win, and the memories of his contemporaries that rated him behind only Dehnert as a master of the pivot play.

 

RUSTY SAUNDERS Height: 6:02 Weight: 215 College: None
Russell Collier Saunders Born:   Mar 12, 1906 Died: Nov 24, 1967 Hometown: Trenton, NJ
Son of Jack Saunders REGULAR SEASON RECORD
Year Team League     GA FGM  FTM   FTA  PCT.  AST  PTS AVG
1924-25 TrentonKingston MBL 9 3 12 18 2.0
1925-26 Trenton EBL 4 11 0 22 5.5
1925-26 BrooklynWashington ABL 34 73 92 238 7.0
1926-27 Washington ABL 42 119 161 399 9.5
1927-28 Washington/BrooklynFort Wayne ABL 50 127 76 330 6.6
1928-29 Fort Wayne ABL 42 104 50 258 6.1
1929-30 Fort Wayne ABL 53 88 42 218 4.1
1930-31 Fort Wayne BAA 40 67 35 169 4.2
1931-32 Toledo Red Men Indep
1932-33 Brooklyn VisistationYonkers MBL 27 56 17 129 4.8
1932-33 Trenton ESBL 31 72 66 210 6.8
1933-34 Trenton ABL 43 140 76 356 8.3
1933-34 Wilkes-Barre PSL 16 29 24 82 5.1
1934-35 BostonNew Britain Mules ABL 39 58 40 156 4.0
1934-35 Wilkes-Barre PSL 4 9 4 22 5.5
1935-36 Paterson/Trenton/Passiac ABL 34 68 38 174 5.1
1935-36 Atlantic City EBL 6 9 8 26 4.3
1935-36 Pittston PSL 7 11 11 33 4.7
1936-37 Atlantic CityKingston ABL 32 61 17 139 4.3
1937-38 KingstonNew York Jewels ABL 4 4 1 9 2.3
1937-38 Original Celtics Indep
1938-39 Original Celtics Indep
1939-40 Original Celtics Indep
1940-41 Detroit NBL 14 7 9 14 .643 23 1.6
1941-42 Trenton ABL 1 0 0 0 0.0
1942-45 Military Service
1945-46 Indianapolis NBL 5 0 3 3 0.6
1946-47 Newark NYNJ 7 0 0 0 0.0
Major League Totals 504 1058 735 2851 5.7
PLAYOFF RECORD
Year Team League     GA FGM  FTM   FTA  PCT.  AST  PTS AVG
1924-25 Kingston MBL 2 1 3 5 2.5
1927-28 Fort Wayne ABL 6 18 6 42 7.0
1928-29 Fort Wayne ABL 4 3 2 8 2.0
1930-31 Fort Wayne ABL 6 9 2 20 3.3
1932-33 Trenton EBL 4 9 4 12 .333 22 5.5
1933-34 Trenton ABL 6 26 14 66 11.0
Major League Totals 28 66 31 163 5.8

 

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