Intriguing big man getting lots of looks

It's not often that you see a 6-10 wing, at least not outside the NBA, but that is exactly what one Puerto Rican player is. 6-10 Ricky Sanchez may have center size, but his game is far more suited for the outside.

Ricky Sanchez is a legit 6-10 wing player. He's cut from the mold of European players like Pao Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki, although he has a long way to go to reach those heights.

He's tall and long, although he needs to add some weight. He has a great handle for a big man and frequently puts the ball on the floor. He has a nice stroke, and is much more effective facing up to the basket. On defense he is an active shot blocker, and solid on the boards.

He does need to get stronger and faster. He's on the thin side and does not have the foot speed to keep up with smaller wings.

Any time you have a skilled player with his size, folks start talking about the NBA. In fact recent rumors stated that Sanchez's family was pressuring him to put his name in the draft. The big man insists that is not true.

"Everyone thinks that I'm going straight to the NBA, but I'm not ready to go right now," said Sanchez. "I have to work hard. I've got a long way to go."

One thing he wants to work on is his strength. He is very thin, and that hinders him on the inside. Sanchez believes he'll be a power forward in college and wants to add bulk before he hits campus in the fall of 2005.

"I need some to do some serious weight lifting to gain confidence down low," Sanchez said.

In college I'd expect Sanchez to play both forward spots. He is much better facing up, and rarely plays down low on offense. He has great handle for a player his size and can move fairly well. He has a solid crossover, which is strange to see a 6-11 player pull off.

He had one of the best plays of the weekend, which shows some of the things he can do. He stole the ball in the paint and took off. He dribbled the length of the court, went behind his back to fake a defender at the foul line, crossed over back to his right, jump stopped and knocked down a 10-footer, drawing the foul in the process.

He is a step slow and still looks like he is getting used to his body. The biggest concern is that he doesn't always play hard. He floats a lot on the perimeter, instead of working hard for the ball.

He lists Memphis, Texas, UCLA, Louisville, Kansas, Indiana, Florida and Miami, and hints that Memphis may have a slight lead. At the game we attended assistants from UCLA, Kansas and Miami were front and center as were John Calipari and Billy Donovan.

The Arizona coaches were also out evaluating him in Las Vegas and Sanchez would be very receptive to their advances. As of now he has not heard a lot from the Wildcats.

E-mail Brad

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