Mark Sanford (basketball)’s biography, net worth, fact, career, awards and life story

IntroAmerican basketball player
Is Athlete 
Sports coach 
Basketball coach 
Basketball player 
From United States of America 
Type Sports 
Birth 7 February 1976, Dallas
Age:44 years

Eumarkjah Tywan “Mark” Sanford (born February 7, 1976), is a retired American professional basketball player. He is currently the player development coach for the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA.

Personal life

Sanford was born in Dallas, Texas, to Beverley and Richard Sanford. He is the second oldest of five children, Richard, Anthony, Zakirah, and Crystal. In his early years he was a big football fan. He played and was coached by his father Richard until his untimely murder in 1990. Richard Sanford never saw his son play basketball. When he died, Mark was 14 years old, stood 5 feet 8 inches and played football. Mark told his father that he would play in the NFL, but in his heart – even back then – he felt he would never leave the impoverished neighborhood of South Oak Cliff, in Dallas, Texas. In the year following his father’s death, Mark grew 8 inches, going from 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 6 inches. He stopped growing at 6 feet 10 inches.

High school career

Sanford attended Dallas Carter High School and did not start playing basketball until he was in the tenth grade. In his first year of playing organized basketball Sanford won a share of the Sophomore of the Year award with Maceo Baston of Spruce High School. Halfway through his junior year, he transferred to Carter’s cross town rival Kimball High School. That year he led Kimball to an undefeated record the second half of the season while averaging 26ppg 14rebs and 4blk. Their only loss came in the Championship game to Waco High School. Kimball finished the season ranked number 6 in the Southwest.

The summer after Sanford’s junior year his mother moved him to San Diego California, where he enrolled into Lincoln High School. He led Lincoln Prep to the city of San Diego’s first ever State Championship.[2] Along the way he collected numerous honors from California State POY to All-State and All-American. He ranked 22nd nationally by Parade All-America in the class of 1994. Sanford was voted the MVP of the San Diego City All-Star Challenge after managing a record 10 3pts on 13 attempts and amassing 48pts. In 1996 He was inducted into the San Diego Sports Hall of fame. In his brief High School Career he scored 2,373 points, grabbed 1059 rebounds, and 413 blocks.

College career

At the University of Washington, Sanford played for the Washington Huskies.[1] He played three seasons with the team before he entered the 1997 NBA Draft. Originally, Sanford had intended to declare for the 1996 NBA Draft, but he withdrew his name from consideration. He played a total of 82 games for the Huskies scoring 1319 career point.

It did not take Sanford long to get into the Husky record books by scoring 15 points as a true Freshman in the 1st game/start of his career. In doing so he amassed the most points ever by a player in their 1st game. He was the fastest Husky to score 500 points doing so in just 32 games. He amassed 27 career 20+ point games and scored his career high of 35 points twice against USC and Jackson State, both during his sophomore year.

Sanford led the huskies in both scoring and rebounding in his Sophomore and Junior seasons. In his true Freshman year, he led all Pac-10 Freshman in scoring and rebounding with 14.5ppg, 5.7rpg. After his Freshman year he was invited to try out for the Under 19 Junior World Games in Athens, Greece. At the trials amongst other notable player such as Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Kerry Kittles, Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury, Tim Duncan, and Marcus Camby, Sanford finished in the top 3 in 5 statistical categories (1st-scoring, 1st-steals, 2nd blocks, 2nd-FGP, 3rd-rebounds) becoming the first player to rank as high since Charles Barkley who finished number 1 in the same five categories.

He is the first player to ever leave the University of Washington early for the NBA draft. He was ranked 13th on Washington’s all-time scoring list after only 3 seasons and 82 games played. He was Washington’s most recognizable Husky since Detlef Schrempf. He was the Huskies’ Shawn Kemp – a crowd-pleasing, high-flying dunker capable of bringing fans out of their homes on a rainy December evening and into Edmundson Pavilion.

During Sanford’s tenure at Washington, season-ticket sales increased nearly 11.8 percent. Prior to his sophomore season, Washington sold 3,261 men’s season tickets. His junior season, 3,701 were sold. Twelve Washington games appeared on cable television, while two aired on network TV. The Huskies sold out home crowds against top-ranked Cincinnati, No. 11 Arizona and No. 13 UCLA.

When asked about the support and exposure for the program Sanford stated, “We’ve finally got the exposure this year after years when nobody cared too much about Washington basketball.” He went on to say, “Now that we got the exposure and expectations, we need to win.”

For his career he was a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection and first-team All-Freshman. He was also an All-American selection following his Junior year. He’s scored 1,000 points faster than any other Washington player, but his place in UW history is largely unknown. When his career ended, he became widely remembered for his role in reviving Husky men’s basketball. With one step he was known to have a 41-inch leap, able to reach as high as 12 feet 4 inches.

Harlem Globetrotters

In 1999, during the strike-shortened NBA lockout season, Sanford opted to join the Harlem Globetrotters. For his jumping ability, he earned the nickname “Airplane”.


Sanford was projected to be drafted as high as #11 to the Sacramento Kings in the 1997 NBA draft. Former Sacramento Kings Head Coach Eddie Jordan said that he thought that Sanford was the best defender in college basketball and compared him offensively to Billy Owens. After putting Sanford through a workout, former Indian Pacers Head Coach Larry Bird stated that he thought that “Mark Sanford was the most athletic and skilled player that he had seen enter the draft in the last 5 years”. Bird also declared that, had Sanford stayed in school for his senior season, he would have been projected as a top-3 draft pick.

Sanford would later watched his stock plummet in the days prior to the draft after being involved in an confrontation with his then agent. As a result of the confrontation, questions about his character arose and he was eventually selected with the second pick in the second round (30th overall) by the Miami Heat. He signed a guaranteed contract in July for the 1997–98 season. Two weeks before training camp began Sanford tore his plantar fascias. After failing to play through the injury with the Miami Heat, he was released following training camp.[3]

In 1999 he signed a league minimum contract with the Sacramento Kings going by his middle name Tywan. He suffered another injury in training camp and was released upon his return. In 2002 Sanford re-entered the NBA with the New Jersey Nets on another non-guaranteed contract after turning down two other non-guaranteed offers in previous years with Utah and New Jersey. He sustained another injury and left the NBA for good after his recovery midway through the season.[4] Although his NBA career ended without ever playing in a regular season game. He did go on to have a strong international playing career.


Sanford was a somewhat obscure player for most of his career but he was regarded as one of the best international players ever at the height of his career. In 2001 Sanford received an offer to play for Frankfurt of the Euroleague a week after he signed a contract to play in Japan. At 6’10, 220 lbs he was the fastest, most athletic, and most talented player on the floor on most nights. His 4 International Championships and 7 international Finals appearances are a testament to his abilities and the match-up problems that they caused. He possessed the speed of a point guard, the shooting ability of a prominent shooting guard, superior athleticism, and the ability to post on the block. He did a lot of his damage from the mid post taking advantage of his mid-range jumper and quick first step to beat defenders to the rim or creating space to get off one of his silky smooth jumpers. Sanford has played basketball internationally for several clubs outside the US, including France, Belgium, Spain, the Philippines, Japan, and Australia, in which he played for the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League (Australia). Most everyone that watched him play knows that he had the talent but believes that his attitude and his decision making off the court kept him from being a star in the NBA. At times he was a very difficult player to coach.

His career scoring and rebounding averages in Europe and Asia combined are 24.4 points and 11.2 rebounds. He has help four teams win the Championship while failing in 3 other attempts.

For his international career he has twenty-two 40+ point games and 3 games of more than 50 points with a career high of 57. Over a 6-year period he had at least one game in which he scored 40+ points. That streak expanded over 9 different countries. He once scored 41 points in 3 quarters of a game while making 10 of 11 from 3pt range and had another game in which he scored 51 points in 36 minutes. In another game he scored 32 straight points for his team expanding over 2 quarters finishing with 47 points. Because of his shooting ability he had numerous 30+ points game in which he did not attempt a single free throw.

Coaching career

Sanford begun his coaching career in 2009 as a volunteer Assistant Coach for the 13th-ranked Men’s team at Northwood University (Florida Campus) under legendary Hall of Fame head coach Rollie Massimino. That year Coach Massimino put Sanford in charge of strength & conditioning and player development. He also assisted in breaking down game film on their opponents and game planning. In his second year at Northwood Sanford became a full-time assistant coach. He took on more duties as the Seahawks shot to #1 in the country going 27-3 in the regular season. The 2010-11 Seahawks would finish the postseason ranked #2 with a 32–4 record and a loss in the final 4. One player would be named Player Of The Year while two players were named to the All-America team.

In 2011 Sanford was named the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Northwood University (Florida Campus). After taking over a program with a record of 4-26 and that finished last in The Sun Conference with a 1–13 record, in Sanford’s two seasons at Northwood he compiled a win/loss record of 25-33. His Sun Conference record in two seasons was an impressive 18-10. The Seahawks finished in 3rd place in the two seasons that Sanford was named head coach. His up-tempo fast breaking and full-court pressing and trapping system saw 4 different players at 4 different positions be named to the Sun Conference All-Conference team, with 2 of the 4 players also being named Sun Conference New Comer of the year in consecutive seasons. One of the 2 newcomers was also named Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year after ranking in the top 5 nationally in steals. His teams would also see two different PG’s in consecutive seasons lead the conference in assist and two different players in consecutive seasons lead the conference in steals.

College statistics

  • 1994-1995: Washington (NCAA): 14.5ppg, 5.7rpg
  • 1995-1996: Washington (NCAA): 16.5ppg, 6.1rpg
  • 1996-1997: Washington (NCAA): 17ppg, 8rpg

European career and statistics

  • 1998: Sunair Oostende (Belgium), was signed in Mar.’1998: 18.1ppg, 6.4rpg
  • 1998-1999: La Crosse Bobcats (CBA): 4 games, 2.7ppg 1.2rpg, in Mar.’99 signed with Harlem Globetrotters for the summer season
  • 2000: in Dec.’99 was signed by Évreux (France-ProA), but injuredafter 1 game: 21pts 11rebs,(dislocated shoulder) finally replaced in Mar.’00 by Dathon Brown due to injury: 13 games: 12.3ppg, 3.4rpg
  • 2000-2001: Great Danes Magic (Denmark): the team created just for NEBLLeague games: 27.3ppg 13.3rpg 2.1apb 2.1spg 1.8blpg,
  • 2001-Los Angeles Stars (ABA, starting five): 17ppg, 5.9rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg,2FGP: 49%, 3FGP: 40.3%, FT: 80.1%
  • 2001: In June signed with Los Potros de Villa Francisca (DominicanRepublic): 14 games: 24.4ppg, 11.1rpg, 2FGP: 47%, 3FGP: 41%, FT: 72%
  • 2001-2002: At the beginning of season was signed by Matsushita ElectricPanasonic Kangaroos (Japan-Superleague): Score-4(24.5ppg), 9.3rpg,3.1apg, 2.2spg, 2FGP: 51%, 3FGP: 38%, FT: 73%
  • 2003: Played shortly at Hapoel Tel-Aviv (Israel-Premier League): 3games: 12.3ppg, 4.0rpg, 2ast, 1.0spg, FIBA Champions Cup: 2 games:16.0ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.0apg, 2.5spg, but decided not to join, in March ’03agreed terms with CPN Pueblo Nuevo (Dominican Republic): 30.2ppg,12.7rpg, 1.8bpg, 2.1apg, 2.3spg, 2FGP: 52%, 3FGP 43%,
  • 2003: In April was signed by Cocodrilos de Caracas (Venezuela-LPB):never played a game due to injury received in finals of (DominicanRepublic)
  • 2003-2004: In Nov.’03 signed at C.B. Aracena-Ponts (Spain-LEB1): 10 games: 12.7ppg, 4.7rpg
  • 2004: Coca-Cola Tigers (Philippines-PBA): Score-3(28.8ppg) 12.7rpg,2.3apg,1.4spg, 6 games of 40 plus points and 1 game of 51 pts,2FGP:43%, 3FGP: 36% FT: 63%
  • 2004-2005: At the beginning of season signed at Sydney Kings(Australia-NBL): 36 games: 16.7ppg, 7.4rpg, 1.4apg, 1.2spg, in May’05 moved back to Coca-Cola Tigers (Philippines-PBA):Fiesta Conf: 10 games: Score-3(24.6ppg), 14.0rpg, 3.0apg, Steals-3(1.7spg), 1.0bpg, 2FGP: 42.3%, 3FGP: 29.4%, FT: 54.7%
  • 2005-2006: Sagesse – Al Hekmeh Beirut (Lebanon-Div.A), tested in Oct.’05, but chose not to sign, in Jan.’06 joined Sioux Falls Skyforce (CBA, starting five): 24 games: 15.0ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.5apg, 0.9spg, FG: 47.9%,3PT: 31.8%, FT: 69.3%
  • 2006: Dubai- 12 games: 33ppg, 19rpg, 4blk, FG: 52.7%, 3pt: 41.1% FT: 79.7%
  • 2006: Plaza Fernando Valerio (Dominican Republic-SRT)
  • 2007: In January signed at Panteras de Miranda (Venezuela-LPB, starting five):
  • 2007-2008: Before the season signed at Daegu Orions (Korea-KBL), but did not play due to an injury

Awards and achievements

  • Texas State Co-Sophomore of the year -92
  • Dallas 2nd Team All DISD 10-5A -92
  • Dallas 1st Team All DISD 10-5A -93
  • Texas State 2nd Team All-State -93
  • Gatorade All-American Nominee-93
  • Blue Chip All-American Nominee -93
  • High School McDonald’s All-American Nominee-94
  • Gatorade All-American -94
  • Blue Chip All American -94
  • Division 4 California State POY -94
  • California State All-Star Game -94
  • Sand Diego City All-Star Challenge MVP -94
  • All State California-94
  • Division 4 State Champion Lincoln Prep-94
  • State Tournament MVP -94
  • Pac10 All-Freshman Team -95
  • Sporting News NCAA All-Freshman Team 2nd -95
  • USA Under 19 World Games Athens Greece -95
  • Pac10 2nd Team -Pre96
  • Pac10 1st Team -96
  • Pac10 1st Team -97
  • Belgian Cup Winner -98
  • Belgian Cup Tournament Most Outstanding Player -98
  • Dominican Rep. League Champion -01
  • Dominican Rep. Tournament MOP -01
  • Dominican Rep. League Champion -02
  • Dominican Rep. Tournament MOP -02
  • Santiago Regional Tournament MVP -03
  • Australian NBL Champion -05
  • All-NBL Player of the Year -05
  • All-NBL Forward of the Year -05
  • All-NBL Import Player of the Year -05
  • All-NBL 1st Team -05
  • NBL All-Imports Team -05
  • Assistant Coach to NAIA College National Coach of the Year -11