Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/6/12
MILWAUKEE - Larry Sanders had finally slowed down. But in a heartbeat, it all sped up again. "Larry, Larry, Larry " The opening night crowd at the BMO Harris Bradley Center burst into a spirited chant as the Bucks forward pumped up the crowd with his hands, pointing in all different directions of the arena as he headed to the bench after fouling out of the game. Sanders had just completed his finest game as a professional. The Bucks have preached they want Sanders to learn to control his emotions and just play his game. But for a completely harmless moment, Sanders' emotions came out. Bucks coach Scott Skiles was asked what he thought of his young forward responding to the crowd. "Act like you've been there before," Skiles said. It was just another step in the learning process for Sanders, but who could blame him? He hasn't been there before. Saturday marked more than him scoring a career-high 17 points. No box score could have showed the leap forward Sanders made Saturday.He was all over the floor. Hustle plays, thunderous dunks, even some off the dribble. Comparisons to a young Tyson Chandler were thrown around. The blue-collar Milwaukee crowd appreciates effort. He just was acknowledging and sending appreciation right back at them."I heard the chants," Sanders said. "I love that. I love any time our crowd pumps up our team."It wasn't long ago that Sanders was in danger of becoming the odd man out in the Bucks' frontcourt rotation. He was suspended for a preseason game for a "conduct issue" and some feared the talented big man's emotions would never let him realize his full potential.With starting center Samuel Dalembert struggling to guard Cleveland's pick-and-roll, Skiles turned to Sanders. It became evident quickly that through two games the Bucks are simply a better team with Sanders on the court. So much so that Dalembert played just 58 seconds in the second half.Everybody knew he could block shots, but his ability to catch the ball on the move, take his defender off the dribble and finish around the rim has drastically improved. Ten of his 13 made field goals through two games have been dunks or lay-ups. "He is becoming an impact player with his energy and some of the blocks and effort plays that he makes," Skiles said.Nobody can put their finger on when Sanders started to use his emotion in a positive way or slow the game down, nor does anybody know if he'll continue to play as he has in Milwaukee's first two games of the season. Skiles even let out Saturday that media often believe there's an exact moment when a light bulb turns on. There's certainly not. It's a process."Larry has, basically since coming back in early September, has impacted every practice and every pickup game and every game he's been in basically," Skiles said. "He's doing a much better job of staying under control and letting the game happen. He's always going to block shots and now he's becoming a much better rebounder. And if he can throw in some catches and baskets around the rim, he's effective."Ask Sanders what has changed and he'll give a very clich answer. "Just working hard," Sanders said. "I had a good summer, got a chance to spend a lot of time with the team and just working hard and it is carrying over."While clich, hard work is helping some of Milwaukee's talented young players start to flash their immense potential. Sanders has combined hard work with maturity. "The guy has got a lot better," Bucks guard Brandon Jennings said. "He's starting to understand the game a bit better. He's playing his role. He knows what his role is. Come out there play hard, block shots, rebound and score when he has to." Monta Ellis gave almost the same evaluation of Sanders as Jennings did."More control, better off the move," Ellis said. "More of him being controlled and settled and making the right decisions. He's been doing a great job."Sanders seems to have figured out the kind of player that he has to be, not only for himself, but for his team. The player Sanders has been early on this season is exactly the type of player fans love to root for, love to get behind. And that, at least for one night, ignited life into a building that so desperately needs it. Sanders may be just the spark it needs."We need to start a tradition here at home," Sanders said. "We need to get our fans behind us because that's good momentum. (It's) something that we've been missing a little bit and we need to get it back."Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Noah to undergo knee surgery, miss rest of season

Shaq ends his side of JaVale McGee feud after his mother intervenes

Red Sox getting custom beds for sleep room at Fenway Park

49ers sound willing to trade the No. 2 pick

Officials Association vetoes Vermette’s suspension reduction

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chiefs to to use franchise tag on Eric Berry again?

Joe Mixon says incident with woman ‘haunts me to this day’

Report: Jennings told Knicks he wants to play for contender

Report: Bears won't franchise tag Jeffery again

Simpson could get out of prison, collect $2.7 million from NFL

WATCH: Russell Westbrook posterizes DeMarcus Cousins to seal win

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker