Springdale Har-Ber basketball standout Nate Rakestraw not only had an all-tournament performance in the recent Holiday Hoops at Bud Walton Arena, but earned a conditional offer from the college program that calls that place home.
Rakestraw, a 6-5 shooting guard averaging 17 points per game right now, was informed recently that the University of Arkansas wants him to be a part of their basketball program.
The only catch is with only two scholarships current allotted for 2007 prospects - and those already being offered to Har-Ber's Michael Sanchez (6-9, 220) and Junction City's James Anderson (6-5, 180), Rakestraw would walk on his first season and then get one of seven scholarships that will come available for the 2008-2009 season.
"It was very exciting," Rakestraw said of the offer Razorback offer. "The only bad thing about is that I would have probably have to walk on that first year. But I am going to really think about it because I really like the Arkansas coaches and see the program really getting better."
Rakestraw, who is teammates with Sanchez at both Har-Ber and with the AAU Arkansas Hawks, is mostly noted for his pure outside shooting.
But he has worked hard to be a more complete player and that evidence is showing.
"Obviously my outside shot is my strongest part of my game, but I am continuing to work hard on both my pull-up jumper and taking the ball to the basket," Rakestraw said.
Har-Ber head coach Eric Burnett says that he sees Rakestraw as a big weapon for his team.
"Nate is going to do a lot for this team," Burnett said. "He is a 6-5 shooter that can handle the ball pretty good. I am also going to use him to post up a little bit when he has a mismatch guarding him. He is a really tremendous shooter."
Sanchez echos that sentiment about Rakestraw, who has already visited Missouri State unofficially and is also garnering interest from Texas Tech, ORU, TCU, Stanford, Marquette, UALR, Princeton and Wichita State.
"Nate is a just a great player and can do so many things," Sanchez said. "He can shoot it from deep outside, he can take it to the basket and he is also a very good passer."
Rakestraw starred at Siloam Springs last season before making the decision to transfer to Har-Ber.
"It was a tough one because it is where I grew up and have all my friends, but I just thought it was a wonderful opportunity to be part of a new school and a new program," Rakestraw said. "Also the opportunity to continue playing basketball with Michael was a big factor, too."
Har-Ber (4-6) has played a tough slate so far with in-state losses to Fayetteville, Forrest City and Little Rock McClellan - three of the teams regarded as some of the best in the state.
The Wildcats do not take the floor again until a Jan. 3 home game with Bentonville with their conference opener and have only league foes left in the regular season with the only non-conference foe being a Fox Sports regional televised game slated for Jan. 26 with visiting St. Mark's out of Dallas.
"We been starting off pretty well, but really had a hard time in finishing off games," Rakestraw said. "I think that will come with time. I think we still have a chance to compete for the conference title once we get it together."
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