Beyond the Game: Bucks' Larry Sanders

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The play of Larry Sanders is one of the big reasons the Milwaukee Bucks are in the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

Sanders is not a one-dimensional guy. His gifts off the basketball floor include a passion for art and mentoring young artists.

6'11" Sanders has grown so much as a player, that the 24-year-old third-year pro is being touted by the Bucks for "Most Improved" and "Defensive Player of the Year" honors. A video campaign featuring Sanders' son, Josiah plays off the fact that the native Floridian has recorded 200 blocks this season -- the most by a Bucks player since Elmore Smith 37 years ago.

Then, there's another side to the shot blocking artist. Sanders has spoken to youngsters at the Arts and Large Gallery in Milwaukee.

A late bloomer in basketball, Sanders began drawing long before he saw coaches drawing up plays. A young Sanders found the exercise to be therapeutic.

Sanders is also expressing himself in the literary sense -- as he is penning a book. Oftentimes a sensitive, spiritual man, Sanders often wakes up in the middle of the night with thoughts he can't put down on paper fast enough.

There is no question that the gifts Sanders has off the court contribute to his success on it. One of the things Sanders is working on is trying to channel that great passion and emotion on the court. His goal is more self-control and fewer technical fouls.

Sanders says he would like to become a coach one day.