How good could Springdale sophomore forward Michael Sanchez up being?
"He's the best sophomore I have ever coached," Springdale head coach Charlie Smith said. "He'll also be the best junior and the best senior. Obviously he's just a pretty good hand."
That's certainly one of the many reasons the University of Arkansas took the unusual step of offering the 6-8, 190-pound forward a scholarship this summer before he had even played a minute of high school basketball.
Sanchez is averaging nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds per game this season through the first six games this season for Springdale (3-3).
He was named to the Holiday Hoops all-tournament team shortly after he had 16 points and 6 rebounds as his squad lost to Rogers 54-40 Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena in the fifth-place game of the Holiday Hoops tournament.
His best game in the event was a 22-point, 9 rebound performance in a loss to Memphis Hamilton that opened the tournament and he had 13 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Camden Fairview.
"It was some great experience,' Sanchez said. "Having competed with the Memphis group, I think we can play with anybody in the state. I think we will be surprising some people this year."
Sanchez, who is also being recruited by Kansas, North Carolina and a host of major colleges, is regarded as one of the top 40 prospects nationally in the 2006 class according to one recruiting service.
"He's strongest point is his work ethic," Smith said. "He's a good player that has got a lot of publicity, but hasn't let it go to his head. He continues to be a team player and he works hard in practice."
Certainly he's notice the difference in the level of play since he made the step up from dominating junior high games last season.
"The speed of the game has changed a whole lot from junior high to high school ball," Sanchez said. "You have to play all out every play."
Sanchez has had his best nights when guard J.T. Eicheberger is on from 3-point land.
"It is a big difference," Sanchez said. "J.T. is the man when he is on. I can always trust throwing the ball to him and he'll knock it down. He's a very good player."
Springdale could get even better if 6-9 center Clay Martin becomes eligible at semester.
"I've got a lot of things to work on as a player and we do as a team," Sanchez said. "But I think we are going to be really good down the line."
O o o
Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington County Day won the tournament by blasting Tulsa Booker T. Washington 79-53 in the championship game.
The Apaches (8-0), who finished second in the 2003 Holiday Hoops, won their three games this year by an average of 21 points.
Josue Soto was named the Ramon Bradford Most Outstanding Player while ACD's 7-3 Jason Bennett and Florida signee David Huertas were teammates of his who were also named to the squad.
Others named to the all-tournament team were Fayetteville's Lewis Chase, Rogers' Kane Moix, Tulsa Booker T. Washington's Jarez Howard, Southlake Carroll's Brett Salisbury and the Memphis Hamilton duo of Jeremy Williams and Joseph Watkins.
In other games Saturday, Fayetteville downed Memphis Hamilton 71-61 for third place and Southlake Carroll beat Camden Fairview 42-32 for seventh place.
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