Sanchez Shines

Springdale sophomore Michael Sanchez and many of his Arkansas Hawks AAU teammates are warming up for The Real Deal on the Hill by facing most of the state's best players this weekend at the AAO Top 25.

After a high school season that saw his team not have as much success as it would like, Springdale sophomore basketball standout Michael Sanchez is looking forward to this summer.

That's because Sanchez (6-8, 200), who has already been offered by the University of Arkansas, and his fellow Arkansas Hawks are expecting to have a big summer in AAU competition.

"I'm so ready to play," Sanchez said. "I can't wait for summer ball. It's a chance for some great games against some great competition and the opportunity to improve a great deal."

Sanchez is joining fellow Hawks such as sophomore guards Isaac Guiden of Guy Perkins and Kodi Burns of Fort Smith Northside, Bigelow junior forward Darin Hood, Russellville junior guard Marcus Pillow and Paris forward Grant Freeman in attendance at this week's AAO Top 25 camp.

Burns - who know has a offer from Arkansas' football program - is one of the state's top quarterbacks and West a standout tight end specimen on a team filled with great athletes.

They will play in The Real Deal on the Hill - an AAU tournament featuring the nation's best sophomores and juniors - on April 15-17 at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

"We've got a lot of great players so that's why I am so excited about the summer," said Sanchez, who will play for both the 17-and-under and 16-and-under Hawks this summer. "I am really looking forward to playing in the Real Deal. That's going to be awesome

The AAO camp has 80-plus top Arkansas players playing on the courts of the All-Star Sports Complex in Springdale this weekend.

Sanchez, who had four great games on Saturday, is expected to be one of the camp's top 25 players that will be on display at 3 p.m. today in an all-star game.

The event gives Sanchez, who is still growing, a chance to improve on his all-around game against solid competition.

"I am going to probably be working most on my shot and my guard-type skills," Sanchez said. "I thought I could have played a lot better during the high school season and I am going to work hard over the summer to improve."

Arkansas, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and USC are just some of the teams sending Sanchez mail.

He has taken unofficial visits to all of the aforementioned schools except USC.

"I've got a chance to look a lot of things over and it will help me down the line," Sanchez said. "I've gotten a lot of attention and now I just have to keep working to earn it."

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