Keeping control of his emotions on the basketball court is not an easy task for Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders.

It's a daily chore and Sanders freely admits he must not let up on his efforts to remain calm.

Now armed with a four-year $44 million contract extension the 24-year-old Sanders knows his every move will be looked at in a different light.

The Bucks are counting on the 6-foot-11 shot blocker in a big way after he made a major leap last season ranking third in the league's most improved player voting.

So it does little good if Sanders is fussing over referees' calls or reacting by racing to the other end of the floor and slapping the backboard as he did in the Bucks' last preseason game in Memphis.

Sanders knows it. But knowing and doing can be two very different things when the on-court battle is raging.

"It's been a life-long journey" Sanders said. "It's not anything new.

"I got to a point at the end of the season last year feeling really comfortable with the officials. And I put a lot into that. My whole day was filled with finding my peace.

"I thought I had crossed a certain barrier but I realize I have to put the same amount of work in to do it again."

Sanders did not pick up a technical foul in the Bucks' four-game playoff series against Miami despite Milwaukee losing every game to the Heat and a divided team showing its frustration.

"I worked very hard before and after games" Sanders said. "I spent a lot of quiet time meditation listening to classical music or gospel music. I spent a lot of time with God my maker just calming myself down. I was able to be in full communication with him throughout the game.

"It takes a lot to do that. When I get in those hot situations it's hard for me to see my way out of them. I have to be pulled out of them. I have to refocus in that area."

Sanders has picked up two technical fouls in the preseason after finishing last season with 14. That was just one off the league-high total of 15 assessed to Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins and Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook.