Nothing like getting invited to a select camp, nearly passing out, playing alongside an NBA point guard and leaving as the most inspirational player.
That sums up last week Har-Ber High junior forward Michael Sanchez (6-8, 210), one of the University of Arkansas' top 2007 prospects and one of just six high school players among the 65 total prospects invited to Baron Davis' Rising Stars of America Camp in Los Angeles.
"It was definitely a great way to finish off the summer," Sanchez said. "Being invited and playing so well was just like icing on top of the cake of what has been a great summer for me."
Arkansas point guard Gary Ervin and starters from Syracuse, Texas A&M, Boston College and DePaul were also among those who participated in the three-day event.
It was held on the campus of Cal-State Dominquez and featured drills in the morning and games in the afternoon and evening.
Davis is the point guard for the Golden State Warriors and a former UCLA standout.
"It was just awesome," noted Bert Sanchez, Michael's dad and a former University of Arkansas trackster. "It was a lot like the (Reebok) ABCD Camp, but with a lot more individual drills and instruction and a much higher level of play since most of the guys he played against were college starters or some who had finished college and were tuning up to go play professionally overseas."
Actually Sanchez' week began with a Tuesday night workout with Andre Smith, a coach he became acquainted with while at the National Basketball Players Association Camp earlier this summer.
Smith is a personal trainer to several NBA players and is currently the leading candidate to assume a similar job with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"He's just a great individual and someone that Michael really connected with while at the NBA camp," Bert Sanchez said. "He wanted us to come out a little early so he could work Michael out and it went great."
Sanchez, whose mom is former Lady Razorback hoops star Kim Bunge Sanchez, then went all out the next day when the Rising Star camp began, but found himself more than a little run down by the end of the day.
After the drills, two games and a 15-minute ride back to the hotel, the younger Sanchez' body locked up on him when he got out of a van.
"It was like Hell on Earth," Michael Sanchez said. "It was the worst pain that I have ever felt in my life. My whole lower body just locked up - my toes, my ankles, my shins and then my neck and the next thing I know I am hyperventilating and that doesn't help anything at all. I just about lost consciousness."
Obvious his dad became really worried, but had an idea what was going on as it has happened to him before.
"That was a tough first night for us," Bert Sanchez said. "He steps out of the van and just completely locks up with body spasms all over. I knew he probably had totally depleted the salt he had in his body."
Turns out the culprit - other than not hydrating enough after Tuesday night or Wednesday - was Glacier Vitamin water.
That is the type of water that was there for the camp, which didn't take enough breaks as it was that first day.
"That stuff didn't have any sodium or electrolytes and didn't replenish the guys at all," Bert Sanchez said. "But we called 911, got him to the hospital and he got two IVs of Sodium Chloride and felt great after that."
Davis got all of the Glacier Vitamin water out of the camp and replaced it with Gatorade and there were no problems from that point on.
"The doctors told Michael he could get back out there and just ease into it Thursday morning and then go full blast in the afternoon," Bert Sanchez said. "But he got out there loosen up and just got after it from the start. I think he had about 20 in his first game and averaged about 12 points and 6 rebounds for the camp, which was great considering who he was going up against."
Sanchez was lauded for his performance during the event.
"I think everybody there was really pleased with what they saw out of him and let us know," Bert said. "I think it was the best performance at any camp he has been at this summer. I think it is like a runner who finishes first, reaches his potential and then can go on to bigger and better things."
One of the highlights for the younger Sanchez was Davis jumping in to play on his team when injuries depleted the roster.
"That guy is just awesome," Michael noted. "He's a great player who can do anything on the basketball court and was just a joy to play on the same team with."
Davis awarded Sanchez the Most Inspirational Player award for his comeback from the Wednesday night struggle.
"I can't say enough about how much fun that was and how good a thing it was for me," Michael Sanchez said. "Now I can just move on into the season as a lot better player than I was last year."
...Hargrave Military Academy guard Stefan Welsh (6-3, 180) is still scheduled to be here this weekend for an unofficial visit.
...Bolivar (Tenn.) Central forward Wayne Chism committed to Tennessee after taking an unofficial visit there this weekend. He chose the Vols over Arkansas, Ole Miss, Alabama and Mississippi State.
Sanchez goes L.A.
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